The recent Oklahoma State University-Texas Tech football game was an entertainment classic, but comments and actions by the head coaches a few hours later swung the spotlight away from the game. It beamed straight toward them, darkening memories of a thrilling contest.
State won, 49-45, but Tech coach Mike Leach and OSU mentor Mike Gundy no doubt wish for mulligans.
Alas, there's no rewind, no pushing of toothpaste back into the tube. Cameras are rolling, microphones are hot and newspapers continue to buy ink by the barrel….
That Gundy would choose the post-game news conference to blister a writer about a column that didn't suit him and that Leach would make such a mess of discharging his defensive coach make little sense. They violated the long-honored "time and place for everything" mantra.
Legitimacy of the coaches' views is not the issue. But the news conference was not the place for Gundy's diatribe, and Leach gets the prize for miserable timing.
A while back, a UT fan took umbrage at a billboard claiming OSU to be a "brighter shade of orange." He figures that if the ad campaign continues, maybe there should be an asterisk noting small-print explanation: "except for the football coach." Meanwhile, out in Lubbock, surely Leach's blushing is a "brighter shade of red."
Late President Harry Truman, a highly quotable "plain speaker," reminded that those who have an aversion to heat should stay out of kitchens.
"Kitchens" of big-time sports have become far too hot, with pressures far too great.
Coaches in all programs—major, minor or in between—must remember that they are teachers and role models, like it or not.
It is said that when games are well-officiated, fans don't even realize the officials are there. Maybe the same goes for coaches….
More than a half century ago, my school superintendent/teacher, the late O. B. Chambers, repeatedly made this suggestion: "Win modestly and lose graciously."
It would be a good thing if this credo could be resurrected by CEO's of universities into big-time athletics.
"How quaint," would be some coaches' response. Others, committed to the "tail-wagging-dog philosophy," would suggest that the CEO "butt out."
On a lighter note, Dr. Joe B. Rushing, a retired educator, is now well into his ninth decade. Maybe one of the reasons for his longevity is that he was spared athletic-related headaches. The retired chancellor of Tarrant County College was a CEO for some 30 years. He "left the door open" to the possibility of adding intercollegiate athletics "if a significant number of students ever mounted a campaign, and they didn't." (A strong intramural program worked well on the metropolitan campuses in his charge.)
Now a resident of Lampasas, he was befuddled during a recent trip to the grocery store, unable to find the 90-second rice. A friend tried to help out. "Joe, here's rice that cooks in 21 minutes; will it do?" he asked.
"No way," Dr. Rushing countered. "I'm 86 years of age, and I don't want to spend 21 minutes of what time I've got left cooking rice!"
Another friend, Rev. Palmer McCown, doesn't quite know what to make of a comment offered following a recent graveside service.
Before it began, the daughter of the deceased was regretful that her mother's favorite hymn, In the Garden, would not be sung. "No problem," McCown responded. "I'm also a singer, and it's one of my favorites, too." Following the service, she said, "Brother McCown, your singing would make the angels cry." On the way back to town, the preacher re-thought the response.
"I'm not at all sure that she had a compliment in mind," he laughed. "When singers make me cry, I don't compliment them!"
The minister, now semi-retired, is director of senior adult activities at his church.
Leaders are elected to what they call the "Senior Advisory Group."
Oh, you're way ahead of me, aren't you? Yep, an acronym has cropped up. Members of the leadership group are called "SAG."
I refuse to conclude in a negative vein, and will forego the opportunity to mention how few shopping days remain until Christmas. However, you might want to go ahead and shop for trick-or-treat goodies. But don't give out apples.
Some years back, a sweet little 5-year-old girl, dressed "to the nines" as Goldilocks, broadly smiled as she did the "trick or treat" bit. My neighbor dropped a big shiny apple into her half-filled bucket.
"You broke my #&%*# cookies!" the little tyke exclaimed….
Dr. Newbury is a speaker and writer in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Send email to email@example.com or call 817-447-3872. Visit his Web site at www.speakerdoc.com.