Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

A News Item that Just Couldn’t Be Passed Up

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Actually, I was going to blog on another topic but, while watching the late, local news, I saw a story that everyone needed to hear. For those readers who don’t know about my blog, it originates from Fresno, California. Since my sleep schedule is similar to that of an owl’s, blogging the first thing in the morning just isn’t something that’s ever going to happen. In fact, there are days in my life in which there is no such thing as morning. 

What I found when I picked up this blogging hobby is that, if I hit the “publish” tab after 11:00 pm, the selection posts to the following day. So, readers on the east coast who are morning people, can be exposed to my brilliance just as soon as they wake up. If there is anyone “back east” who has experienced that not to be the case, occasionally, it’s because there have been times that the words and/or ideas aren’t quite flowing as freely as I hoped and “publish” doesn’t get hit until after 4:00 am west coast time. Hey, another reason for retirement.

As I mentioned earlier, last night while my wife and I were watching the late news on one of the local networks (usually that is way past Jane’s bedtime. However, Wednesday night at 10 is reserved for Nashville (not because it happens to be her hometown but because . . . it’s full of wholesome family values). We were discussing the latest episode and commenting about how kind the characters were to each other when we both turned our heads toward what was being reported.

One of the news anchors is a friend, so we’re kind of tuned into her voice. She began to tell a story that was a true head scratcher. If you’re like me, every once in a while, you watch shows like “The 10 Dumbest Things . . .” Last night a new entry occurred in the “thief” category.

Apparently, Riley John Bigger, 19, wanted a soda and some headphones. He rode his bike to a CVS pharmacy and put the items in his backpack. Possibly because he was spooked by the surveillance cameras, he took off from the store. In his haste he forgot the bike and the backpack that had the goods he went there for in the first place. Unfortunately for him, the clerk at CVS realized it, too.

When he returned for what was rightfully his (as well as what wasn’t), he and the clerk had a debate. She wanted her property back. Bigger figured his best move was just to get out of there so he hopped on the bike and left. The video showed that, at one point he realized what he’d left but decided to just call it a night.

If the story would ended there, it wouldn’t make anybody’s top 10 list. But in this case, the clerk called the police and, of course, they checked the backpack. Sure enough, the stolen soda and headphones were in there, along with – this is where RJB separated himself from just any ol’ robber. In it was evidence connecting him to other crimes. But even that fact doesn’t put him in the elite criminal fools category. Also found in the backpack was a very detailed, professional resume – complete with name, address and phone number.

Now, we all have lied (or, at least, stretched the truth a little) on our resumes. George O’Leary at Notre Dame and Steve Masiello at South Florida are a couple coaches who lost prime, if not dream, jobs for lying on their resumes (both have rebounded quite nicely after coming clean and getting second chances). Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson, former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Sandra Baldwin and Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarrellais all were caught lying on resumes and, in the first two cases, were fired. While Zarrellais managed to keep his, he did lose over a million dollars in bonus money.

What makes Bigger unique is the description of his skills: “a good customer service person, people person, family oriented and an outgoing personality, raised with good morals on a family farm.” Not one to undersell himself, Riley John Bigger also identifies himself as a problem solver, someone who can stay calm and make decisions based on common sense.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer summed the case up succinctly when he said:

“You don’t have to be smart to be a criminal, but you do have to be smart to get away with committing a criminal act.”  

Sometimes the Great Ones Are Just Great

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Last night Peyton Manning threw his 500th touchdown pass in his illustrious NFL career. And his 501st, 502nd and 503rd. He’s now only six away from being the all-time leader in that category and, barring something catastrophic – that my wife, a University of Tennessee grad, won’t allow me to mention any further – he will be at the top of the list in a few games. I realize records are made to be broken but it’s going to take some herculean effort by another quarterback to stay healthy and play long enough and have enough great players around him to top the final numbers Peyton (that’s what we call him in our house) will amass. And that’s when he decides to retire.

Peyton Manning is that rare breed of athlete who is one of the best ever and who has never embarrassed himself, his family, his team or the league – unless you were infuriated by what he did when he hosted Saturday Night Live! or any one of the (seemingly infinite) commercials he’s done – in which case you need a sense of humor adjustment.

However, just as I mentioned in my recent blog (9/26/14), undoubtedly there will be people attempting to shed negative light on what Denver’s QB has done in his career. That post spoke to the fact that both SNY.tv host (and a half – if you’ve seen him, you’ll understand) Chris Carlin and ESPN’s egomaniac (and a half, no further explanation necessary) Keith Olbermann both went on rants directed toward Derek Jeter during his final series in Boston. Surely, there are currently people digging up dirt on Manning (or having their minions doing so).

In that 9/26 blog I related the story of how I used to tell the students in my high school classes that many people think life is a totem pole and the higher up a place on that totem pole you occupy, the “better” person you are. These folks think the way to the top is to drag down below you as many people as you possibly can. Although this method is the easiest and most fun way of “rising to the top,” there simply isn’t enough time. As well as too many people.

When it comes to the best way for us to view role models like Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter, business guru Tom Peters summed up best:

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.

Why Is It Older People Think They Can Help Others?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

This isn’t exactly breaking news but Google is a pretty awesome invention. Or discovery. Or creation. Whatever, it’s way above my intelligence level. If ever there was something that can give you answers – quickly – it’s Google. For someone with a relatively decent level of intelligence, when it comes to technology, I’m, let’s just describe it as, well below the curve. Suffice to say, whoever (or whatever) invented Google is quite a bit above that curve. Yet, on occasion, answers can be found elsewhere.

Because I’ve lived through six-and-a-half decades, in nine different states all across the country and have had jobs of influence over the youth of America, passing on information is something that comes naturally to me. More than having the job of teacher or coach, I have always considered myself a student of life and an observer of people.

Maybe due to an early lack of confidence – which some people who know me would scoff at – I was always worried about being good enough. For those who don’t believe that, here’s an example. When I was a senior in high school, I never considered myself exceptionally bright, e.g. my overall GPA was around 2.7 or 2.8 which gave me a class ranking in the upper 25%. Not bad, but not exceptional by any means. I was smarter and a better athlete than some of the guys I hung around with – in math and a couple selected sports. But they were better than I was in other subjects or sports. 

During my sophomore year, I doubled up taking geometry and algebra 2 so I could take calculus my senior year. There were 12 of us in the class (another kid in our graduating class was so smart he’d taken calculus his junior year so he was taking his math class at Rutgers, located a couple miles across the Raritan River). At that time many colleges were requiring single subject SATs as well as the regular morning tests everyone took to gain college admission. Naturally, the kids in our calculus class (and the brainiac at Rutgers) took the single subject Level 1 math test.

When the scores came in, I got a 756 (out of 800). The only people I knew who’d taken that test were the 13 of us. When I got to class and everybody reported their scores, I found out that mine – outstanding by anyone else’s measurement (but which I had no idea) – was the 11th highest, meaning it was the next to the lowest in the entire group. Eight of the others got perfect 800s. Two of them received a perfect 800 on the Level 2 test. That test was on material we hadn’t even covered in class!

There are other stories which contributed to my inferiority complex in areas academic, athletic and social so I was always looking for ways to improve. So it wasn’t at all strange that when I returned to my alma mater, Highland Park (NJ) HS, as a math teacher, football and basketball coach (after I graduated from college in 1970) that I read one of the most influential books of my life, Psychocybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. It wasn’t until I read Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that a book had as much influence over me as that one I read in 1970.

For a guy who didn’t particularly enjoy reading in high school and college, once I graduated, I began to read quite a bit (probably because it wasn’t required). When I went to Washington State in 1973 and began working for George Raveling (one of the most voracious readers of all time), I was positively influenced to become a lifelong learner. George would always be giving me books – print and audio. In addition, I’d always enjoyed simply studying people. All of those traits have broadened my life.

Quick story (for real). Once, when I was Director of Basketball Operations at Fresno State, we were returning to the mainland on a red-eye after our conference game with the University of Hawaii. I happened to be sitting near the front of the plane. At that time, i.e. prior to the pain pump that’s now implanted in my abdomen, I just couldn’t sleep (sitting up) on planes. So I would read. Around 4:00 am one of our players came up and tapped me on my shoulder. When I looked up, he said, “Jack, turn around.” When I did, I saw that the only light in the entire plane that was on the one above my seat. I knew I was a good deal smarter when I got off that plane than I was prior to boarding it.

Since I was in a role of teaching young guys how to play and, I can’t stress this enough, also how to succeed in life, dispensing knowledge became an obsession. Those who know me well will tell people I’ve never had an aversion to speaking. One person, two people, 1500 people at the Fresno Convention Center (although I got paid for that one) – doesn’t matter. If you’re around me, you’re going to hear something that will make you think or smile. I can’t help it. I enjoy sharing information, stories and powerful quotes.

People I’ve taught, coached, mentored and assisted in one way or another have asked me why it is I seem so comfortable sharing my philosophies, a few of which seem a little off the wall. Believe me, I’m in no way so presumptuous to think I have all the answers. One day, however, I found the answer. It was on a card I saw at a local Hallmark store. It said:

“Just because I give you advice doesn’t mean I know more than you. It just means I’ve done more stupid shit.”

A Loser’s Strategy on How to Become Famous

Friday, September 26th, 2014

I told every class I ever taught about my totem pole theory, i.e. life is a totem pole and the higher up a person is on the totem pole, the more successful he or she is. How some people, rather than scratching and clawing and busting their butts to get to the top (or at least as high as they could), would rather simply drag down those people above them. After all, which way is easier? Which way is more fun? What’s difficult about that approach is 1) there are too many people and 2) even if you did manage to drag everyone below you, you’d be on top of the shortest totem pole in history.

If a poll (of different kind) were taken, it would stun me if 98% of America didn’t know or, at least, hadn’t heard of Derek Jeter. Even non-sports fans know of America’s favorite soon-to-be retiree, if for no other reason than his recent commercials – on TV, magazines, billboards, wherever. As far as the rest of us, who do enjoy sports, even the most casual fan has followed the Farewell Tour because, if ever an athlete deserved public adulation – for his skill, ability to help his team win, personality and, most of all, character – Derek Jeter would be at the top of the list. No one could complain about him.

Enter SNY.tv host Chris Carlin, someone referred to as “really just a sports talk radio troll who managed to get a gig on TV.” He weighed in (and if anyone’s ever seen Carlin, “weighed in” stands for more than just him presenting his opinion) by shrieking, “Yo, this clown’s a fraud . . . and you are all suckers.” Carlin, wallowing in anonymity, as far as talking heads are concerned, went for the triple insult (you’d think the only triple Carlin was aware of was his chin). First, calling Jeter a “clown.” That characterization couldn’t be further from the truth. Second, if there were a description further from the truth, “fraud” would be it. Finally, he completes the “insult hat trick” by referring to Jeter’s fans (a good portion of America), as “suckers.”

“It’s that this has never been what Derek Jeter is all about,” Carlin continued. “He has been about team, not me. He has never let us into his personal life because he’s always been about the team.” Yet, he couldn’t just stop there, actually complimenting the Yankees’ captain. Carlin felt the need to expand his commentary, as he’s used to doing often with his belt. “He frankly is being a complete fraud right now. And here’s another thing I can’t take (hint: it wasn’t a Danish). “I can’t take the notion that Derek didn’t want this, the Yankees wanted this, Derek’s not comfortable with this. He looks pretty damn comfortable to me as he’s collecting the checks, and I’m shocked he’s not hurt from patting himself on the back all year.”

What bugs Carlin is that, while Jeter has always been the ultimate team guy, he seems to be “pretty damn comfortable” with this victory tour. Why shouldn’t he be? It’s his last year of playing the game he’s loved since he was a kid! Can you deny a guy what he saw his brother-in-pinstripes, Mariano Rivera, experience last year? And, as far as collecting checks, I imagine if the charitable donations of Derek Jeter and Chris Carlin were compared side by side – whether total dollars, percentage of income or any other standard of measure, I’d venture to guess Jeter would come out infinitely more favorably.

Undoubtedly, Carlin experiences comfort (if not orgasm) with the fact that none other than Keith Olbermann also went on a Derek Jeter rant. Of course, there are those in society who think that when the Lord gave Keith Olbermann teeth, a perfect asshole was ruined.

A kinder, and less nasty, assessment of America (which includes its media) comes from Danielle Dax, who said:

“I find it strange the way human nature wants heroes and yet wants to destroy their heroes. It’s a kind of mass insecurity people want something to look up to and get a buzz off but, at the same time, want to destroy it because it makes them feel insecure.”


“And here’s the other thing I can’t take: I can’t take this notion that Derek didn’t want this, the Yankees wanted this, Derek’s not comfortable with this. He looked pretty damn comfortable to me as he’s collecting the checks, and I’m shocked he’s not hurt from patting himself on the back all year.” – See more at: http://lowbrowsports.com/2014/09/chris-carlin-on-derek-jeter-this-clown-is-a-fraud-and-you-are-all-suckers/#sthash.Ak53ygCa.dpuf

It’s that this has never been what Derek Jeter has been about. He has been about team, not me. He has never let us into his personal life because he’s always been about the team. He frankly is being a complete fraud right now.” – See more at: http://lowbrowsports.com/2014/09/chris-carlin-on-derek-jeter-this-clown-is-a-fraud-and-you-are-all-suckers/#sthash.Ak53ygCa.dpu

“Yo, this clown’s a fraud… and you are all suckers,” – See more at: http://lowbrowsports.com/2014/09/chris-carlin-on-derek-jeter-this-clown-is-a-fraud-and-you-are-all-suckers/#sthash.Ak53ygCa.dpuf”Yo, this clown’s a fraud . . . and you are all suckers.

“Yo, this clown’s a fraud… and you are all suckers,” – See more at: http://lowbrowsports.com/2014/09/chris-carlin-on-derek-jeter-this-clown-is-a-fraud-and-you-are-all-suckers/#sthash.Ak53ygCa.dpuf

“Yo, this clown’s a fraud… and you are all suckers,” – See more at: http://lowbrowsports.com/2014/09/chris-carlin-on-derek-jeter-this-clown-is-a-fraud-and-you-are-all-suckers/#sthash.Ak53ygCa.dpuf

There’s Always a Positive

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The following is a(n edited) story from my book, Life’s A Joke. I’m offering a free copy to anybody I went to high school with, any player I’ve ever coached (at either high school or any one of the nine colleges I’ve worked), or coaches who have ever been on the same staff as I was. Just email your address to fertigjack@aol.com.

From 1987-1991 I was associate head basketball coach at the University of Toledo. Our head coach had a weekly television show on one of the local networks on Sunday mornings. One of the weeks I was the guest.

Toledo was the seventh college of my career. I’d always taken pride in having a great relationship with other department members. This was certainly the case with our director of media relations (then referred to as sports information director, or SID), John McNamara, who is currently the associate athletics director at the University of Hawaii. Johnny Mac was several years younger but he was every bit my equal when it came to trading witty remarks.

After my appearance on the show, Johnny Mac came into the office and said he thought I did a nice job during my segment. Then he asked if I’d seen the ratings for the time slot that week. I told him I had not but would be interested if he could find out what they were. He said he already had – which is when I knew something was coming and was pretty sure he was going to have a good laugh at my expense.

He told me there was good news and bad news. Like most people (I imagine anyway), I first asked him what the bad news was. He told me that David Brinkley’s Journal absolutely blew us away. This wasn’t too disheartening as David Brinkley was one of the most powerful names in broadcast journalism.

“So what was the good news?” I inquired.

He looked at me and, with the smile that could best be described as a “victory grin,” said, “You had better ratings than the other network show at that time slot.” The name of that show?

“Mass For Shut-ins.”

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back for Me and Social Media

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Since It’s still really, really hot in Fresno and our boys live in Newport Beach and Monterey AND we’re retired, Jane and I have decided to make a few more visits to see our sons. While we’ll be making trips every weekend during basketball season, we felt it was time to check out Monterey and Carmel – for fun. In a week or so, it’ll be down to O.C.

As a result, this blog will return on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

As you readers have been told close to 4 or 5 (hundred [thousand]) times, I am the opposite of what’s known as “tech savvy.” This could be because of my age, although there are people much older than I am (believe it or not, there really are people much older than I am) who absolutely thrive in this new, techno world. It’s just that when the “tech” generation began, it left without me – and I was content to live in the (lack of) information age I’d been inhabiting for a good, long while. And quite enjoyably, I might add.

There actually was a day I felt I’d try to learn the new forms of communication. You know, join the 21st century. As a high school teacher, I needed to be able to comfortably use email – even though I saw many people, among them, administrators who needed to be able to speak to someone – hiding behind it. It also had served as a means for parents to vent to teachers regarding their children’s grades, behavior and other issues that could have been much more effectively handled using person-to-person voice interaction.

During “Back-to-School-Night” I used to tell the parents, “I know some of you are really good at banging out some nasty emails.” At that time I was still a member of the National Speakers Association and my main topics were team building, trust and effective means of communicating, two out of three of which were being handled in ways I never mentioned to any of the audiences I faced.

“My feeling is face-to-face communication is, by far, the most effective form of solving a problem,” I continued. “The telephone is next. Anything that comes after those two pale in comparison when it comes to effectively solving a problem. However, if email is your favorite means of communicating, go ahead and bang away.

“Just remember – I bang back pretty hard.”

My foray into the world of “advanced” technology began with learning how to text. I’d text one, or the other, of my sons, he’d text back, I’d text, his turn . . . Then I felt, “It takes me a heckuva lot longer to text than to talk.” So, I’d call him.

Wouldn’t you know it, voice mail! Then, if I sent a text, here comes back his response. Later, when I would ask what the deal was, I’d hear, “I was in the library.” That made sense – but not as many times as that situation occurred.

After 30 years of college coaching – and nearly as many Final Fours (the National Association of Basketball Coaches – NABC – convention coincides with the Final Four) – I came through on a promise I made (to myself) that I would take my sons to a Final Four. I always thought it would be when I got a head coaching job but that never happened and with my moving back into high school coaching (I taught math and coached my first two years out of college), I realized it never would.

Sometime in 2006, I checked my mailbox one day and I was informed that because I had been a member of the NABC for so long, I had the opportunity to buy two tickets to the Final Four. I did and taking my boys to the 2007 Final Four turned out to be the trip to hell. When we returned, I told a guy about it and he said, “You tell great stories. You ought to blog.” Naturally, my first question was, “What’s blog?”

He explained it and, wouldn’t you know it, the first three blogs I ever did were about that trip (yeah, it took three blogs to tell the whole SNAFU). Due to some technological screw up (this one can’t be blamed on me), those three blogs, along with a couple others that followed, were lost somewhere in blogosphere. That this happened made me dislike technology even more than I originally did.

But . . . I did learn how to blog. And, to help out our baby gift business (CuteBabyNameGifts.com), I have a Facebook page. Well, one day, along comes Twitter. Hey, baby, let me at it.

A friend of mine told me that was the way to go (yeah, imagine me being limited to 140 characters) and he set up a Twitter account for me. I figured, if high school kids, not to mention NBA players, could do it, how hard could it be? The answer never really was known because, although a friend had set up a Twitter account for me, one day, our younger son, Alex, mentioned to me something he’d seen. I asked him where he saw it, Twitter?

“No, Instagram.”

They’re inventing them (Pinterest, LinkedIn, Etsy, Snapchat), faster than I can – or want to – learn them. Back to phone calls and emails.

 

Coaching Ought to Be Easier Than This

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Coaching is all about communication. It’s not what the coach knows; it’s what he (or she) can get across to the player. If players can’t absorb it, thoroughly understand it and put it to use, it doesn’t matter how much of a genius the coach is.

Coaches display various personality types. Some guys are rah-rah guys, some are screamers, some try to be buddies with their players and some are simply professorial, i.e. a simple teacher-student relationship. All are motivators; they just employ different styles.

Which is the best method? That answer is simple – whichever one works. Make no mistake about it, all coaches believe in what they’re doing. The key is to get the players to believe in it, as strongly as the coach believes in it. If that’s the case, unless completely outclassed from a talent standpoint, you have a sure winner.

Personally, I can remember specific days, weeks and even years in which my instructions worked to perfection and the individual or team achieved incredible success. I, and every other coach, would be lying if I said there were times what I told guys either didn’t work at all or, worse, backfired.

Here’s an example of a coach’s instruction gone awry: The coin toss at the Texas-UCLA game. While this part of the game isn’t as vital as, say, everything that follows, it still gives the coaching staff ammunition for motivation, e.g. if the team wins the toss, it’s “Yeah, we won it – and don’t think that’s the only thing we’re winning today!” If the team loses the toss, the reaction will be (in nearly every instance), “Yeah, we got the ball – let’s score and set the tone for this game!”

In terms of coaching a player for this part of the game, it’s relatively simple. “If we win the toss,” say, ‘We will defer.’ If they win – and defer – say, ‘We want the ball.’ If they win – and take the ball – say, ‘We will defend this goal’ ” (pointing to which end the coach desires). If the coach doesn’t have confidence in his co-captain (then why is he allowing him to speak?), he could replace the third command with, “check with me.”

Prior to the UCLA game, Texas DE Desmond Jackson was the co-captain who was in charge of deciding what to call for the coin toss, meaning “Defer,” “Ball” or “Check with me.” The Bruins won the toss and deferred. The referee asked Jackson, “They’re deferring, what do you want?” Jackson said:

“Kick”

Jackson’s decision didn’t lose the game for the Longhorns (UCLA won, 20-17) but it had to be a bad omen. But give him credit, Desmond Jackson took to twitter to apologize and say that he will never make that mistake again. Bet on it – for a couple reasons.

Time to Lighten Up a Little

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Because so much of the news today is negative (since that’s what sells), our release has always been the sports page. Yet, for the past few weeks, what’s been going on in the world of sports has been every bit as depressing as the front page. While the media drives these stories, I drive this blog. Here’s a story from my book, Life’s A Joke, that took place during the 1975-76 season. 

When I have some free time while I’m on the road, I enjoy going to malls, especially bookstores. When I was a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon, I was on a recruiting trip and had some time before the start of the game I was going to see. I stopped by a local mall and walked into a Waldenbooks (I told you it was a long time ago).

Perusing through the titles in the sports section, I came across a book called The Gamblers Guide to Sports Betting. When I noticed one of the chapters was about coaches to bet on – and not to bet on – I was intrigued. It informed the reader about, not which coaches won and lost the greatest number of games, but which ones covered the spread most – and least – often.

I immediately checked for college basketball coaches and was somewhat amused at the list they had, many of whom I knew rather well. This book fascinated me and I found myself thinking about it even as the plane back to Eugene landed. As fate would have it, as I walked to baggage claim, I saw, lo and behold, one of the coaches whose name was on the list.

(Note: In the book I don’t mention the name of the coach but since it is now nearly 40 later – and he’s passed away – I’ll divulge the name of the coach. It was Oregon State’s Ralph Miller).

I went up to him, reminded him who I was, and related what I’d discovered at that bookstore. Any misgivings I had about telling him disappeared when he looked me in the eye and said:

“If I know what the line is, I’ll try to cover that bugger.”

Let’s Focus on Something Positive

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

With all that’s going on in the world of sports, I thought something a little lighter might serve everyone better. The following is an edited story from my book, Life’s A Joke. It deals with a culture shock I experienced as a young man.

I lived the first 24 years of my life in New Jersey. Other than the occasional trips to New Your City and Philadelphia, two spring breaks in Miami – both of which were combined with cruises to Jamaica (when I was 21 and 23) – every living day I spent in NJ. Then, in 1972 I accepted a graduate assistant position in basketball at the University of Vermont.

One of my early days in Vermont, I was stopped at a red light, the second car behind an elderly couple. When the light turned green, their car didn’t move. Now, in New Jersey, people pretty much belong to one of two groups: 1) the rotten guy who leans on the horn and spews expletives and 2) the polite gent who simply taps his horn to alert the person, who is undoubtedly lost in a reverie (this was before cell phones), that it’s time to move.

Since I had recently become a resident of Vermont, I knew my only choice was politeness, so I gave them a light tap. What next occurred is something that, not only I will never forget, but it was something of an epiphany. Simultaneously, the couple turned around – and waved to me!

You see, in Vermont, you don’t blow your horn at someone unless you know them. Although I was tempted many a time during my year in Burlington, I can honestly say my horn was never used again at stop lights.

It was Randy Pausch who said:

“Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.”

Pat Haden Gets Fined by League, Supported by Executive Director

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

By now, everybody in the world of college football knows that USC athletics director Pat Haden, at the request of his head coach, Steve Sarkisian, left the comfort of his suite in the Coliseum to move down to the field in order to bring calm to a situation. By the time Haden arrived, calm had already been restored. In subsequent television interviews, Sarkisian seemed quite sheepish (the kind of feeling that comes over you when you let your emotions substitute for your brain and the result is your AD being humiliated on national television and his billfold lightened by $25K). With the numbers in Sark’s contract (the one Haden offered him), the coach might consider subsidizing the fine – by somewhere in the neighborhood of 100%.

“The conduct by USC Athletics Director Pat Haden was inappropriate,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, no small potato in the world of Power 5 (or whatever it’s called) college football, said. “Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.” Scott is the one who levied the fine.

Haden’s acknowledging his coach’s request are more in line with actions like those of the Trojans’ previous AD who had been known, on occasion, to embarrass an institution as prestigious as USC. Knee jerk reaction by many fans was that Haden should step down from his position as one of the 12 (plus a chairman) committee members who will decide the four teams that will play in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Initially, Bill Hancock, College Football Playoff executive director, said, “We have to look at his ability to select teams. He was placed on the committee because of his judgment and his integrity and this doesn’t affect that. I think this does show the level of attention that people will be paying to the committee members and their work, and that is completely understandable. This doesn’t affect his capability as a committee member.”

The following day, after realizing the previous quote was too human, Hancock came out with a more administrative sounding statement. “Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the playoff selection committee to deal with. This does not affect Pat Haden’s capability as a committee member. We recognize that athletics directors cannot be dispassionate about their own teams, and that’s why we have the recusal policy.” It’s almost like administrators feel the need to distance themselves from the rest of us (down here) or else, why would he not simply let his initial remarks (which perfectly stated his case why there was no need to remove him) stand?

For those up in arms about Pat Haden being given a pass, here’s why it’s OK with me:

“It’s one of the privileges you get when you’re a Rhodes Scholar.”

That accomplishment, sitting up high on an administrative throne, is impressive. A quote regarding the exalted world of the high and mighty is by Michael de Montaigne:

“Even on the highest throne in the world, we are still just sitting on our ass.”