Personal rights and egos

In a COLLEGE basketball game last night, Oklahoma State powerhouse Marcus Smart when after a fan. I thought it was a NBA story at first.

Smart is a great player. It’s a frustrating time because Oklahoma State is in a losing streak at the wrong time. (For the record, I’m okay with that, since I’m a Jayhawks fan.) Emotions were high as was the frustration of the game slipping away and they faced a fourth straight lost in a tough league. It takes nothing away from Smart as a player. He’s still great. He’s going to be a good NBA player in all likelihood.

But, he was wrong to go after the fan. The situation was too hot and it’s hard to maintain control, but when you have cameras all around, AND you’re in a hostile arena… somehow you have to call on that inner reserve to hold it back.

But that fan… is… an idiot.

Smart will get suspended. That fan should be banned from the arena. Refund his money if he’s a season ticket holder. Do NOT let him buy another ticket to your games until HE goes through anger management courses.

What clashed that night is what clashes all the time: egos.

Smart was frustrated with the situation and something was said or done that was offensive to him and he took the wrong path at that moment. Yet, that fan was obviously exercising his tremendous ego as well. He could have felt he had the right to heckle since he had paid that “big money” to be in that seat.

For basketball, I see it more and more. I hate NBA games, but when I see a game clip on TV and see how close they dare to put the fans to the sidelines, and then see how much they pay for those crazy seats, there is a sense of entitlement that can rise up in the fan. They paid for the right to be stupid.

As usual, when the second person gives a retaliation, it’s the second person getting the foul, the flag, the heave ho, whatever. It’s never that first offender. In this case, it needs to be both.

We have gone too far with our personal rights and egos. We think because of our status as a player or our money as a fan we have a “right” to do something. We do not. We have other people to think about and we would be well served if we would be reminded of it from time to time.

As an example to fans to learn to calm down and not be idiots, that particular fan needs to be dealt a serious blow. Don’t just send a message to Smart and other players. Send a message to the fans.

Get a life.

Government and Crazy Funding Mechanisms

In Minnesota we were held hostage by the thought of the Minnesota Vikings leaving, then we “got the deal done.” Whew.

But it’s smoke and mirrors. The funding mechanisms from the state were non-existent. They were pie-in-the-sky projections, based on… umm… NOTHING. Then, shocking news, the projections are failing! HERE

It’s par for government, and it’s par for people being held hostage by the fantasy of having something “better” or that major league sports are “necessities” to civic life. They drain budgets and create shortfalls so that the state will now have to find other “creative” ways to get their share of the Vikings stadium paid for. I can’t wait for Minneapolis to notice their shortfall in the next few years, as well.

Meanwhile, while the state and city are trying to find other says to get more money out of already drained taxpayers, it will be time again for the Vikings to whine about needing yet another new stadium. The merry-go-round goes on.

We interrupt theological thoughts for some thoughts on … football

Just a couple of thoughts as I continue to be a fan of some awful teams right now.

First of all, the Vikings.

The game against the Bears today and the game against the Buccaneers a few weeks back showed something in the flawed thinking of the offensive coordinator fairly early in the game. Basically the scenario was this: the Vikings are behind by a touchdown and are ripping down the field setting up for a score. They hand off to Adrian Peterson most of the time down the field. He rips through the defense and gets the Vikings down to inside the 20 yard line. Then, the offensive coordinator for some unknown reason, thinks, “Wow, this has been working. We need to do something else.” 

So, instead of handing off to Peterson, they throw the ball. Today, they threw three times, got nowhere, then had the field goal blocked. The Bears went to to beat the Vikings easily. It happened in the Buccaneer game as well.

Then there are the Kansas City Chiefs.

All I can ask is they have the decency to lose every game the rest of the way and hold onto that number one draft pick. If they can’t get a clear shot at a clearly superior QB, then trade that pick for some good picks down the line and get a veteran QB. Oh, and fire the GM and the coach.

All of this, coupled with Notre Dame actually being back in the championship game has given me an Excedrin headache. I’m glad I’m not a huge fan. It could be brutal.

Gladiators

I am a football fan, and it gets harder and harder. One reason it’s hard is I grew up in Kansas City and the Chiefs are a lousy team.

Other than than, though, the violence of the game and the bloodthirst we’ve created as fans has finally reached a point for me where I am not as excited about a football game as I once was.

For the Chiefs, the fans have been fed up with the lack of progress of the team, particularly their quarterback, Matt Cassel. The Chiefs gambled on giving Cassel a huge contract when the guy has hardly any experience. He filled in for Tom Brady one year when Brady went down with an injury (ironically while playing the Chiefs). The Patriots went 11-5 or something like that. But let’s be honest, I could have played quarterback for the Patriots and gone 11-5 that year.

But yesterday, Cassel went down with an injury late in the game and something inevitable happened. The fans at Arrowhead Stadium, the home crowd, cheered. That was ugly. But it is what we’ve produced as a country and culture. It was ugly, but what else could honestly be expected?

Chiefs’ play Eric Winston went on the record after the game ripping the crowd for booing, and rightfully so. Yet, even in his analysis, he got it wrong.

“We are athletes. We are not gladiators,” Winston said. “This isn’t the Roman Colisseum.” (That’s the KC Star spelling, by the way.)

He’s wrong because this is what football HAS come to professionally. It IS bloodsport and it is only a matter of time before we haul a body off the field that goes down because of contact. A high school player this weekend collapsed on the field and later died because of a heart condition.

This is the condition of the game. Right now Winston is upset about fans cheering that a player is injured. Right now pundits will get on the fans for that kind of behavior. But this is the state of the game. This is what fans want. They want hard hits that wear players out in a few years and toss them on the trash heap by the age of 30. They want players they don’t like taken out, even if it’s by injury.

Sorry, Mr. Winston, but you are gladiators.

Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston (74) checked on quarterback Matt Cassel after Cassel took a hard hit from the Baltimore Ravens defense in Sunday

I Love the Kansas Jayhawks, but…

I LOVE the Kansas Jayhawks. It is a great program. I know a lot of people don’t like their fans. I hope I’m not one of THOSE fans, but I love the Kansas Jayhawks.

However, I have a request of the selection committee (even though I know this will go unheeded): Please do NOT seed KU #1 in any bracket. They don’t deserve it. They have come this far because of a great coach who can pull out miraculous things from a team that just isn’t built for a championship run this year.

KU with a #1 seed is a death wish this year. They can’t handle that number. (The exception being 2008 when everyone thought they didn’t deserve it.) The reason is this: they get lazy.

In 2008, KU crushed North Carolina in the Final Four. The next year, North Carolina cruised EASILY to a national championship. Why? All their players came back for one purpose: to win the national championship. The loss to Kansas had motivated them. Every round of the tournament they CRUSHED their opponents.

Last year when KU was “supposed” to win it all, they collapsed. They got cocky with their number one seed. They felt they deserved it. They tanked early in the tournament. And what did the juniors who were leaders do? They bolted to the NBA.

I say put KU at a 2 seed. Make them mad. Disrespect them. THAT way they will NOT be comfortable and play with heart and passion and at least get to the second weekend of the tournament this year.

So, please, PLEASE do not give my Jayhawks a One Seed.

Thank you.