Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

March 31, 2004

College Athletics

Filed under: Education — Bunker @ 8:17 pm

Juan Williams is a professional. I always listen to what he has to say because he has integrity. He has an open mind, something rare for a liberal journalist. Tonight he was on O’Reilly.

I haven’t watched television news in a few days, so I’m not really up on the latest uproars. But apparently Paul Hornung, the Notre Dame Golden Boy and hero of the Green Bay Packers said something kind of raw. I don’t know exactly what was said, but it had something to do with Notre Dame needing to lower admissions standards so the football team could recruit more black athletes.

Williams was outraged. O’Reilly made the point that if Hornung had said “Irish” instead of “black,” he wouldn’t have been offended. He also pointed out that Notre Dame has a higher percentage of black football players than the average Division I school. They bantered the issue at hand, trying to define what Hornung was trying to say. I think they missed the real point.

I’ve coached baseball at all levels from T-Ball to the junior varsity team at USAFA. I’ve also coached other sports for youth, and had three boys who played most. I also dealt with Proposition 48 athletes at a junior college. These are kids with talent enough to play at a Division I school, but didn’t have the academic qualifications to be admitted.

I’ve seen the problem at every level of play. Kids that make all-star teams, and their parents, are upset if they don’t start. “He’s never sat on the bench.” And my response is, “Neither have any of the other kids on this team.” At each level, some kids who were all-stars last year are also-rans this year. Kids with athletic talent all believe they will make it to play at the highest level. That confidence is essential in a good athlete. What they are taught, from a very early age, however, is that if they can play well, they don’t need to do anything else. The only thing that can save them is adult involvement that teaches them this lesson. Ideally, it will come from parents. Unfortunately, parents are often the ones who want that meal ticket and ego boost that their child’s talent may bring them.

The numbers are not in any kid’s favor. An example with which I am most familiar is Division I baseball. College teams at this level are allowed 11-1/2 full scholarships. That’s all. And those scholarships are usually divided among 25-30 players. Few baseball players get a full scholarship. And those high school players who get them are identified in their junior years. By the time a high school phenom is a senior, it’s too late.

High school football players can expect to see about 1% of their number play Division I college football. From that small percentage, an even smaller number get drafted. Even then, most players drafted by the NFL don’t make the team. There are about 1500 players in the NFL. That’s fewer than the number of students in many high schools. I lived in Florida during Emmitt Smith’s high school years. Even then, pro scouts were watching him. He was one of those who had a future–if he didn’t get injured.

And that’s another issue most don’t consider. They are one injury away from the end of their athletic career.

Okay, now that I’ve said all that, let’s get back to this “black athletes” issue. I don’t care what school any kid goes to, the opportunity is there to learn enough to score 19 on the ACT. Period. That’s all it takes to meet the NCAA requirements. It doesn’t matter if they go to a school with three classrooms (like one I attended for a year) or a giant metropolitan school. The issue is desire. If an athlete doesn’t have a parent making sure he/she (girls don’t seem to have this problem) is doing the work, it won’t get done. If a student doesn’t have familial support and nagging, they need someone else pushing them. Few do. Then, instead of a luminous professional career, they’re wandering the streets working minimum wage jobs. And wondering what went wrong.

This is an issue where Juan Williams has blinders on. I can’t slam him for it, because I know he’s sincere. But people like Williams and Hornung need to look beyond the result and the desire to field the best team. Until people are willing to make real learning an issue (and lowering standards certainly doesn’t do it), kids will continue to be wasted. Perhaps we should be looking at higher entrance standards for athletes than for the general population.

I’m sure all the contributing alums would string me up.

Coober Pedy

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 4:56 pm

Ah…the news that comes out of Coober Pedy. What?! You’ve never heard of Coober Pedy? Well let me tell you, it is the Opal Capital of the World!

Wallace claims it as his own personal sister city. He lives in Midland, so it fits.

Now, your assignment is to visit each of these sites and sit back, relax, and stay a while.

Leftists Against Bush

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 11:17 am

I know….What’s new?

Well, Chomsky on his blog, posts this:

We have several choices to make. The first is whether we want to pay attention to the real world, or prefer to keep to abstract discussions suitable to some seminar. Suppose we adopt the first alternative. Then there is another choice: electing Bush or seeking to prevent his election.

Nowhere in this article does he even mention support for Kerry. It’s all about preventing Bush’s reelection–regardless of the winner.


Filed under: General Rants — Bunker @ 11:02 am

Real men need to take back their manhood!

* A Retrosexual opens doors for a lady.
* A Retrosexual DEALS with shit. Be it a flat tire, break-in into your home, or a natural disaster, you DEAL WITH IT.
* A Retrosexual not only eats red meat, he often kills it himself.
* A Retrosexual doesn’t worry about living to be 90. It’s not how long you live, but how well. If you’re 90 years old and still smoking cigars and drinking, I salute you.

I concur.


Filed under: Society-Culture — Bunker @ 8:22 am

This young man is a champion. (From Kev)

Today in sport, it is rare to find an athlete sincere in his expression of disappointment without resorting to, at best, mild complaint. In San Antonio, Tim Duncan arrived to pick up the star role from David Robinson. Both men deserved to exhibit huge egos, but didn’t. Instead, they became close friends, celebrated each others’ successes, and supported one another in failures. No whining from these two. Damned if they didn’t take home an NBA Championship trophy.

Golfers are generally stoic about failure, although we’re beginning to see more complaining about slight imperfections on normally perfect greens and fairways. Even in complaint, though, they typically spout the requisite disclaimer, “Well, it’s the same for everybody out there.”

I don’t watch or follow professional sports much any more. I’ve almost given up on collegiate sports as well. There aren’t many Duncans or Robinsons in the NBA. Nor are Biggio and Bagwell common personalities in baseball. Of course, my opinion on this matters little. There are still plenty of people in this country willing to pay $40 to sit in the crowded seats of the upper deck at Texas Stadium. And many more channel surf so as not to miss a down of any NFL game. I enjoy sports, but get tired of seeing temper tantrums. So, I’ll let others foot the bill that pays those salaries.

Maybe someday the rest of these guys will figure out how to win a championship. They might ask Tim and the Admiral.

March 30, 2004


Filed under: International — Bunker @ 6:07 pm

EuroPundits details the assassination of yet another spiritual leader, one known by virtually every Hollywood fan.

Hack Attack

Filed under: Military — Bunker @ 1:56 pm

This is where David Hackworth gets it right.

I’ve written before about Hackworth, and some readers took my words to mean I didn’t respect his opinion. On some issues, I think he’s better off keeping quiet.

But on issues such as a new infantry weapon, he’s spot on. I doubt anyone pays closer attention to this kind of thing than Hack. And he’s tenacious.

The problem in the Pentagon is that the top folks are far-removed from the days they carried a weapon. And there is a lot of pressure from congress-critters to buy things from their district. This is the kind of thing they need to buy properly.

I hope they do it right.

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