4/11/2017 - 4-11-17 Spike
Haven't written anything in a while. Life gets busy...things happen and frankly, after almost 40 years of covering sports, it takes a lot to get my attention. But I felt compelled to add my voice to the many who are telling stories about the man everyone knew as Spike.
Coach Dykes was unlike any major college coach I've ever been around. He didn't get into coaching for the money. For most of his career there wasn't any. And even at his peek with the Red Raiders he certainly wasn't in the millionaires club. But Spike was wealthy. He understood life was about relationships, not wins at all cost. R.C. Slocum said he can't remember anyone without enemies, except Spike. Spike loved everyone and everyone loved him back. Slocum says he doesn't think Spike made an effort to be funny. He just was. He treated everyone the same, whether it was the head of a corporation or a lowly, young reporter. There aren't any coaches in major college football like Spike. Come to think of it, there never were.
1/10/2017 - 1-10-17 Upon Further Review
Last night's National Championship game was one for the ages-the best title game since the Vince Young-USC game in 2006. And Deshaun Watson was the bomb. But first let's stop this story for a replay review brought to you by the idiots who are ruining a great sport.
The game lasted just over four hours and ended just shy of 12:30 AM EDT. Overtime, a distinct possibility until the touchdown pass with one second left would have added another 30 minutes. Replays have totally gotten out of hand and replay officials are taking FOREVER to render a decision that to most of us seems obvious within 30 seconds. I can't imagine coaches are happy having to stop every two plays to review whether a ball carrier's knee was down at the 2 or the one and a half yard line, or whether the receiver who was wide open over the middle juggled the ball and didn't "possess it all the way to the ground." Replay seemed like such a good idea at the time. I don't like the NFL, but college football needs to adapt it's replay rules and system and the league's ability to fit almost every game it plays into a three hour window. Millions of people missed the end of a terrific game last night because, well they had to go to work this morning. There's nothing quite like college football, but without a few minor changes the sport is in danger of losing its magic.
11/21/2016 - 11-21-16 Firing Charlie
I keep seeing all the talking heads and writers pontificate about the terrible way Charlie Strong is being treated. Wasn't it their stories that put him in this spot? The University of Texas administration has given one message throughout the latter half of the season-Strong's job status would be evaluated and determined after the final game. Strong has made it difficult because of his attitude, demeanor and class and the support of his players. They all talk about him as a father figure and someone who was concerned about life after football. All admirable qualities for sure. But if his players loved him as much as they say, why did they play so poorly against Kansas? The last time Texas went three straight years without a winning record? 1936-38. Strong will have to scrape by on the 10 million plus buyout. There is no easy way to fire a coach. But spare me the sermons about how this firing was butchered.
8/12/2016 - 8-11-16 The Wrong Simone
While NBC continues its love fest over Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, they are ignoring the most important story in Rio. Last night, 20 year old Simone Manuel of Sugarland set an Olympic record in the 100 meter freestyle and became the first ever African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming. Don't get me wrong, Phelps and Biles deserve all the love they get. Their achievements are remarkable. But to me, they pale in comparison to what Manuel has accomplished. She has broken the glass ceiling for black athletes. Have you heard the one about how black people can't swim?
Apparently, they can. Over caffeinated NBC swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines could barley speak after Manuel's victory. Which, if you've been watching the broadcasts is a miracle in itself. But at least he understood the importance of the moment. For its part, the network couldn't get their cameras off Manuel quickly enough in order to show Pehlps sitting on a chair and getting ready for his next race. Of course, I'm no expert in delivering "good TV" to the viewers. But history will show the network missed the boat on Manuel and her incredible story.
6/6/2016 - 6-6-2016 Remembering Ali
He was loved and he was hated. He was admired and he was reviled.
But you could never ignore him. He came along at the perfect time in history, the way many of our icons do. Race riots, war protests and the popularity of television. He was outrageous. A large, black man with a big mouth. White America didn't know what to do with him.
Black America had found a spokesman and a hero. As an upper middle class white teenager I couldn't understand the anger and I didn't understand at the time what he meant when he said "you want me to travel 10,000 miles and kill people I don't know when my enemy is right here." Like all mythical figures he had great flaws. But it's not hyperbole to say he was the most famous man in the world. The "Thrilla in Manilla" may be the greatest single sporting event ever staged. Nothing personifies Ali's will more than that fight. He almost died in the ring and neither he nor Joe Frazier were ever the same. Few of us will ever begin to imagine what it was like being Muhammad Ali. Love him or hate him. But you could never ignore him.