Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Since I am responsive to my readers (both of them!!!) let me lighten things up here by starting this posting with a joke/urban legend I heard over dinner tonight:

"While visiting London US President Bill Clinton was riding in a horse drawn carriage with Queen Elizabeth II when out of nowhere there was strong evidence of horse flatulence which prompted the Queen to say, 'oh! excuse me' to which President Clinton replied, 'oh, I thought it was one of the horses............................' "

Now for something completely different :-)

My teenage years in Northwest Iowa are filled with fond memories of my parents taking my brother and I to see the Sioux City Musketeers junior hockey team play in the old civic auditorium. For me it was always about the athletic competition but for many hockey fans an essential part of the game is the fighting that occurs between players. Hockey is unique in this regard since I have rarely witnessed such institutional violence during poker tournaments or on the PGA tour. I am a purist when it comes to sports -- if brawling between players is not in the hockey rule book then I want to see any players who fight ejected and prosecuted by the local authorities in order to preserve the rule of law and the preservation of athletic competition.

Yet another childhood memory I was reminded of this week is the traditional post-game hand shake conducted by all the players that we would do after all of the games I ever played in -- football, basketball, baseball -- track and field was a different culture in terms of sportsmanship since it was displayed throughout the track meets as we congratulated each other following each event due to the fraternal nature of the sport.

So what is the state of sportsmanship today? I feel like a nostalgic old man talking about "in my day we walked to school barefoot in snow drifts, up hill both ways........................." but I do believe it is true -- sportsmanship has declined dramatically since I hung up my cleats. Two college football games played this past weekend convinced me this statement is true today. First there was the major flight that occurred during the University of Miami and Florida International University football game on Saturday night. Now given their historic reputation as “thugs” (a former player stated this on ESPN yesterday) I am not surprised by Miami’s lack of sportsmanship but it was another football game on Saturday which really concerned me. This other game was between Dartmouth and Holy Cross (both NCAA Division I-AA schools) which Holy Cross won by 24 to 21 in overtime. At the conclusion of the game the teams lined up for the customary handshakes. But instead of the usual “good game” comments a fight broke out between players due to a celebration by the Holy Cross players.

No, American society is not collapsing all around us but there are some areas of concern we need to address. This lack of sportsmanship might be a product of today’s “intense soccer parents” who stalk the sidelines of the pitch yelling at the child players who are just out for some old fashioned athletic fun.

Let me close this posting by updating you on my two favorite college football teams’ performances this past weekend:

Iowa State University Cyclones -- my alma mater lost to Oklahoma by a score of 34 to 9 so the Clones sit at a current season record of 3 wins and 4 losses. With 5 games remaining in the season the Clones need to go 3 and 2 just to finish with a 6 and 6 record which MIGHT qualify them for a post-season bowl game but at this point I can’t see how this is possible given what I have seen on the field. Homecoming is this weekend which will be very fun as my family enjoys the annual gathering at my fraternity.

Bradley University Bulldogs – lost to Drake University (of Iowa) by a score of 29 to 0 so the Dogs fall to an overall season record so far of 2 wins and 5 losses.

Competitors not Convicts please,


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