What’s on my Mind? Every once in a blue moon things stir in my brain and I have to put them on black and white to see if they make sense. Most of the time I delete 90% of what I type just because it comes out as “What the hell was I thinking?” There are occassions however that what I type does make some semblance to sanity and it is those thoughts that I wish to share with you readers. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to comment
The LLWS committee decided to strip the championship from last year’s U.S. Champions. The team from Chicago represented as the Jackie Robinson West team, hailed as the first all-African-American team to win the championship must now vacate all wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International tournament; including their Great Lakes Regional and U.S. Championship.
The LLWS committee has suspended the coach as well as removed the Illinois District 4 administrator.
Part of this morning’s office discussion was why the U.S. Teams cheat so often. It was the opinion of a couple of us it was due to the fact, “We have those that envy success and they tell on each other”.
And not saying two wrongs make a right but I for one have thought for many years that the international teams are NOT held to the same standard and rules that the teams in the U.S. are burdened with. My statement to that fact opened a whole new can of discussion and basically we were split about half and half with those that felt the LLWS International Committee did a good job in overseeing and making sure that All teams were treated equally and those on my side of the fence that feel like teams from Japan, Mexico and other perennial contenders “beef up” their teams with players outside of their districts.
The team from Chicago used players within their defined district. Problem was they falsified their district boundary map limits to include areas where they pulled kids from.
The bottom line will still remain that bunch of kids will be remembered as cheaters. The KIDS did not do it. Their parents MAY have been involved, but most certainly, those placed in a position of authority or in charge is definitely to blame.Maybe , just maybe the players involved knew or was aware of the change, but they are still NOT at fault.
All the good for their community and all the good old American pride and Rah-Rah for the home team is now just a feeling of betrayal by many Americans. I know I am one of those sitting here today and feeling ashamed that WE as a society feel the need to win at all cost no matter what.
What did we teach these kids? What is their take-away from this whole thing now? We just taught them that it is okay to cheat as long as you don’t get caught?
I thought that Little League Baseball was to promote the sport and the life-learning lessons of sportsmanship. I guess that is not the case anymore.
IMO, Baseball is a sport that is failing young African-Americans to begin with. And now we have some Self-Serving adults screw it up not just for the team from Chicago but I hazard to guess for many other kids as well in other cities as well.
When I reached the age that was old enough to start caring about sports, and I mean all sports, there was a name synonymous with greatness in our community. I don’t remember the exact age or year I began listening or paying attention to sports making nationwide news but I do remember many of the names in those days. In the NFL you heard of Starr, Unitas, Tarkenton and Staubach.
And like the millions of kids that came before me and the millions that came after me, I focused more on the players than I did those coaching or managing the team.
It was not until I reached my 20’s that I began realizing that the guys mentoring/coaching and managing the players made a difference. And when I say made a difference I am not just talking about recruiting or drafting but I mean REALLY made a difference in player development.
Dean Smith was probably one of the greatest Basketball minds to ever develop a college hoops player. There might have been better recruiters. There might be even guys that were/are better at judging talent. But in my book he was the best at getting players to play to their full potential AS a team member. He developed team leaders as well as players.
While at the University of North Carolina he became a figure head and ambassadors for the sport. Many coaches tried to emulate him and many are successful today due to his tutelage but none have nor will they ever replace him.
I heard as a kid an old saying that “If God was not a Tarheel, then why was the sky Carolina Blue?” I still smile when I think of that saying and I remember Coach Smith courtside with some of the greatest to even don the uniform and I have nothing but extreme fond memories of those days.
We have definitely lost one of our greatest ever. R.I.P Coach Smith.
As a lifelong fan of the Tarheel Basketball program; I may add that I gave up on them EVER developing a football program to compete for the NC; it was easy for me to wear “bias or rose colored” glasses when looking at other Div-I programs.
I knew of and respected the hell out of other programs like Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville but I did not think or accept the fact that they stood up to my mighty Tarheels; especially with the “Dean of Hoops” at the control center. As I grew older I realized there were other schools that had great basketball programs other than UNC. I did not like it, but I grew to accept it.
And that leads me into this next segment. Since 2009 my bias and love of the game has made me bitter and loathing of one particular Coach and program that has done nothing but win; and that team and coach of course is the University of Kentucky and their coach John Calipari.
Prior to his taking the reins at UK I had only heard of the troubles his team had in the past and not of his success as a coach; the first of which involved Marcus Camby accepting money in cash and gifts from an agent. The second incident involved Derek Rose cheating on his SATs in order to get into Memphis.
Both of these incidents Calipari was cleared of any wrong doings but he ended up leaving both schools under a cloud of suspicion and vacated games for both schools.
While both incidents involved the players doing something wrong, many of us always blame from top down and that of course would place a lot of the blame square on Calipari’s shoulders.
From what I understand the whole “fake classes” thing started in 1993, four years prior to Dean Smith retiring, but during his tenure as head coach. In no way do I see the scandal tainting his legacy but what about Roy Williams? Is his integrity and legacy tainted? What about the other sports programs and coaches as well?
I would be a hypocrite big time IF I did not judge them the same way I did John Calipari right? I would have to say yes. But instead of judging them and feeling like those two coaches did something wrong, I guess my eyes have been opened and I have re-evaluated how I look at Coach Calipari.
I am still not a fan of the “One and done” players that he runs through his program but one cannot argue the success it has brought to the university. And what the team is doing this season is remarkable. All they do is win.
Being a Tarheel homer, I still don’t like it; but I have resigned myself to give them the props and accolades deserving of a great team and as well as a great coach. I still have not brought myself to “liking” Coach Calipari, but I sure as hell respect what he is doing there in Kentucky.
These are things that are on my mind. Your comments are welcome.
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