My book on tape ended and I didn’t have another so I tuned into sports talk radio which, from time to time, can be quite interesting. (I, for one, ought to be promoting sports talk as I used to have several shows myself and am currently the co-host of “The Jerry Tarkanian Show” on Fox Sports Radio 1340 and 1400 out of Fresno). The topic being discussed was which player would you want on your team, Matt Cassel (who was portrayed as the ultimate “team player,” a guy who would just as soon defer to Tom Brady instead of trying to go elsewhere so he could have the chance to start) or Anquan Boldin (who was upset - and let anyone who’d listen know it - because he didn’t play a bigger role even though his team won the game that put them in the Super Bowl)? Naturally, as typical of today’s society, the host of the show and the majority of the callers sided with Boldin.
Those in favor of Cassel (sounded like they) were of the older, there’s no “I” in team group. They want a teammate who understands and accepts his role because, heading into the dream game in any football player’s career, it’s mandatory that every team member focus on the task at hand and subjugate their individual ego for that of the team. This group went on to characterize Boldin as “today’s brand of player” (also leading me to believe they were from an earlier era), who only thinks about himself and places his personal goals above that of the team.
The pro-Boldin callers brought up that here was a guy who broke his jaw and had screws put in to his face so he could compete, showing his loyalty to the team was beyond reproach. All he wanted was for his team to win and he knew the best way for the Cardinals to do that was to make him an integral part of the game plan. Plus, why would anyone want to count on a guy like Cassel as a teammate? Someone who could go and show what he was made of, but, instead, was willing to accept a huge pay raise, and be satisfied sitting and holding a clipboard behind Tom Brady.
As with most arguments about whose opinion is right, i.e. an argument with no definitive answer, people get themselves all lathered up when they probably don’t know all the facts (which, to these people, is of little consequence). Maybe Cassell found out, after being pressed into action and performing admirably, that he loved the New England system, felt it was most conducive to his skills and that the organization (or possibly even Brady himself) confided to him that the Super Bowl winning QB wasn’t going to be ready to go at the beginning of the year and the job was his. Or, how about the wild idea that, after this season, Cassel might just be playing coy (he remembers that he didn’t start at SC in college but still made the NFL) and is saying the right things (because that’s how he was raised or that’s the strategy he’s using) but, deep in his heart, he feels he can beat Brady out. Just give me a chance to compete against him, now that we’ve both shown we’re NFL capable quarterbacks. I plan on coming into camp in the best shape of my life, have hired a personal workout guy and, now that I got a lot of game experience, I’m working on the things the coaches told me throughout the year I needed to improve. I’ll be ready to earn the big money (franchise tag?) the Pats are offering and then you’ll see the method behind my madness.
Boldin’s side of the story might be that he realizes that Larry Fitzgerald is the new prototype of an NFL receiver, but with all the attention he’s going to receive, he finally will have the chance to go up against a defense that’s not geared toward stopping him and if those guys would throw it his way, they’d all attain the same goal - to become World Champions! It’s not a selfish attitude as much as it is a practical one.
What separates talk radio (sports, news or politics) from normal conversation are the whack jobs who call in - the people who, rather than forming a logical pattern of thought from their head before they speak, blurt out something idiotic from their heart (or out of their … another body part, located about the same distance from the heart the head is, just in the other direction). These people are not only incapable of seeing a situation from both points of view, they feel that only one side can be right, so the other one must be wrong. Then they go about trashing the “opponent” by showing how foolish or cowardly or misinformed they are, thus proving their side to be the “the winner.” They usually succeed in doing just that, but it’s themselves who wind up looking foolish and misinformed. If you favor one side over another, does it mean the one you didn’t select has to have no positive qualities?
Usually, the host of the show is one of these types of guys. Ever since Jim Rome showed how many “wannabees” and “never was’s” there are out there in “Listenerville,” and how bitter they are that other people make a ton money to play a game while they themselves have to work long and hard to barely scrape by, and, how, if the host will give them a platform to criticize these “prima donnas” by doing exactly that as the host, how loyal they’ll be to him and how outrageous his show will become … and what a hit it will be because, in today’s misguided world, this is what sells - and, in radio, selling’s the name of the game.
All of this is based on the principle my late mentor, John Savage, used to say so often it’s burned into my skull: “You don’t strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.” And, how much, in the times we’re going through now, do I miss him because, in addition to being a close friend, I learned something everytime we’d speak - about selling or investing (he was an insurance salesman/speaker and is the only person, I believe he still holds this record, to speak at the insurance industry’s Million Dollar Round Table twelve years in a row) or simply about life. John’s brilliance was a very basic type, the kind that’s not in vogue today, mainly because it’s based on accepting responsibility for your own actions.
His advice was similar to that given by John Hancock:
“The greatest ability in (life) is to get along with others and influence their actions. A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life.”