Randy Moss: Everything You Actually Want In Your Athlete
“Some players are so good that rooting against them is pointless. Moss was in that category immediately.” We all love the ‘gamer’ athletes. The guys that just grind out base hits, do all the “little things” right, and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty eeking out a win for our team. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what’s better? Usain Bolt in the last 30 meters. LeBron James in the open court. Randy Moss outrunning everything – the coverage and the ball, then slowing down and jumping 5 feet over the defense to make a catch. Here’s the truth: we don’t care if our favorite athletes are nice, or kind, or hard-working, or good husbands or fathers (assuming they aren’t violent, horrible people). We don’t care at all, because the type of person they are has no impact on our lives. What captivates us is someone doing the one thing he or she was put on earth to do, and to see him or her do it so much better and easier than everyone else. And while Moss definitely was an arrogant piece of work at times, he seems like a pretty grounded superstar that’s transitioned into retirement pretty smoothly. Apparently the key is saving money and fishing a lot. – PAL
Source: “There Will Never Be Another Randy Moss”, Andrew Sharp, Grantland (11/11/14)
TOB Note: A couple lines from this really stand out for me. “If I find out someone doesn’t like Randy Moss and Allen Iverson, it’s a pretty clear sign we could never be real friends…Randy Moss was the type of player that dads didn’t like rooting for. That made it all the more fun.” This is so true for me. I always liked guys the stuffy media would tsk tsk at, and hated the ones they gushed over. So, of course, I loved Moss (and Iverson).
Last year, NBA player Ryan Anderson’s life was turned upside down when his girlfriend, Gia Allemand, a former Bachelor contestant, committed suicide after the two had a fight. Ryan was the one who found her. Unlike most suicide-related stories, this one focuses on those who remain, namely Anderson. How does one deal with the grief, guilt, and relationships? Anderson has faced all of these questions head-on, and doing so while continuing to excel on the court. I feel a bit of a personal connection to this story, in a degree of separation sort of way. Ryan Anderson is from El Dorado Hills, where my family moved when I was 16. He’s a few years younger than me, but we have more than a few mutual friends, and I’ve met him a couple times in passing. So I read this with much interest, but it’s great even without those connections – a story of someone being dealt an unfathomably terrible blow, but choosing to get up and keep moving forward. -TOB
Source: “Love, Loss, and Survival”, by Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated (11/13/14)
PAL Note: Anderson handles a nightmare situation with vulnerability, grace, and action. As Tommy mentions, I too appreciate that the story focuses as much on what happens to those close to the person as it does on the act itself.
It’s Time to Pay College Football/Basketball Players
After reading this article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it’s hard to argue that college sports is not broken, and that it has been for decades. It’s possible to both acknowledge that college sports needs fixing and still be a fan. But things do need to change. For years, I have wrestled with the understanding that football and men’s basketball players (the only consistent positive revenue sports) deserve to be paid, while also knowing that doing so will change those sports (and all the non-revenue sports that rely on those two sports for funding) forever. Well, too bad. These players risk their long-term physical health and get pushed through toward graduation (if they get that far) with a meaningless degree in b.s. majors. It’s time. A few changes are easy:
- Education standards must be tougher, so that they actually get a meaningful education.
- The players should be paid. If that means less scholarships for gymnastics, oh well.
- Coaches’ salaries should be capped. It’s insane that Coach K makes nearly $10M a year while the schools claim they can’t afford to pay players.
- Revenue-positive sports should be exempt from Title IX restrictions – it makes no sense to count football and men’s basketball, sports that earn the school money and literally pay for those other sports, as expenditures for Title IX purposes.
College sports are broken. But they are fixable. This shouldn’t be that hard. -TOB
Source: “College Athletes of the World Unite”, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jacobin Magazine (11/12/14)
PAL Note: Holy sh*t – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar worked as a groundskeeper at UCLA during spring break. I cannot get over this. I wish I could make the argument that college athletes in revenue-positive sports shouldn’t be paid, and that gymnastics is as valuable as football – that money can’t be the the only metric of value when we’re talking about college athletics – but we are so, so far beyond that point.
Video of the Week
You may have seen highlights of this game before. It is hard to argue that it is not the greatest finish to a high school football game of all-time. A tremendous effort to come from behind on the back of three recovered onside kicks in the last few minutes. Elation, followed by devastation, and some of the greatest lines from any announcer, ever. This version is new – a look back at this crazy game, including interviews with the players, and those announcers, who lived it.
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