Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rants & Raves

     As I read about the two Oregon basketballers that have quit and the track athlete that has decided to turn pro, I am reminded of how little the words commitment and loyalty actually mean in today's athletics.    One of the reasons I've pushed away from the pro leagues is the frequent jumping ship allowed by free agency.   Now fans face the same dilemma with college athletics.  Juniors allowed to enter the draft, changing schools due to lack of playing time, and just plain greed makes us wonder what is next for collegiate athletics. 

     In a way, I understand Ryan Katz jumping ship at OSU, he will be a senior and probably won't see playing time except to hold for kicks and occasional mop up duty.   The thing with Katz is he gave it his best shot for 3 years, long enough to know he did what he could.   He has one last season and wants to be on the field full time.  I get it for him. 

    Now the two FRESHMAN that have left the UO basketball program are a different story.   They faced adversity in some way and instead of meeting the challenge head on decided to turn and run - off to the next best thing.   All freshman face adversity - new faces, new places.   Heck, I spent most of my "extra" money on bus tickets home for the weekend while in my first year.  But, I soon became acclimated to my new surroundings as most college students do.   The attitude of "if Johnny don't play, Johnny don't stay" shows a lack of real character.   With that, the Ducks are probably better off with out these two malcontents.   But it still gripes me that that they couldn't follow through with their commitment to the university that was giving them a free education.  

    The track athlete may claim that the possibility of making as much as $700,000 didn't play into his decision to turn pro, but how can we not believe that was a joke he was making at the expense of his team.   The team that was counting on his points to help win meets.   But, an agent got in his ear and off he goes, leaving his team mates and coaches wondering who will make up for his lost points.  Surely a mega-star like Ashton Eaton had the same offers, but he stuck it out and finished his eligibility.  Maybe it's a character thing....

     Now on to the Cliff situtation.   Coach Kelly gave the kid every possible chance to redeem himself and he just wouldn't use his head and change.   So off he goes - hard to cut loose a consensus All-American, but the program has to eventually be bigger than one player.   As Mr. Spock said, "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few,"-  nerdy Star Trek reference, sorry.    The comic Ron White has a great statement for this situation, "You can't fix stupid, there's not a pill you can take, there's not a class you can go to.  Stupid is forever."  

     Speaking of stupidity, my disdain for all things NBA festered when I read of Greg Oden's latest contract offer.   $8.9 million - are you kidding, there is a possibility he may not play at all this year.  This guy has played a total of 82 games in his career, appearing in a little less than 50% of the Blazer's schedule over that time span.  He averages 9.4 points per game, and they wasted a #1 draft on him!   Can anybody finally admit a "Sam Bowie" and move on?   No wonder the Blazers continue to be bottom dwellers in the NBA.   Their chances of winning an NBA title in my lifetime is about as good as me re-growing my hair.   Not gonna happen.

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