Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saving Our Electronic Souls

Back in the day, you'd watch a game at a sports bar with your friends or in your living room with family. Joe Montana would overthrow a guy, maybe Alan Pinkett would hit the wrong hole, Tim Brown would down a kickoff inside the five yard line, Lou Holtz would have Kent Graham try and run an option play, and you'd scream at the television, berating the player or coach in question for being a knucklehead. Others in the bar or the room may have agreed or disagreed with you. Within five or six plays, the gaffe may or may not have been forgotten, but you'd moved on to the action at hand. After the game, you might have still been irritated at the blunder, especially if it contributed to a loss, but within a game or so, that play had melded into the other plays that constituted the story of the season.

Now the Internet has come along, and has turned into the world's biggest sports bar. Plays get analyzed long after their previous shelf life would have expired, and the opinions expressed, no matter how ephemeral, gain an air of permanency as the page on which they were written floats in the electronic ether. Philosophies both positive and negative tend to coalesce, as people gravitate towards others who share their viewpoint which may or may not be logical or correct. And as with all things, there is an element of supremacy and accuracy, as perceived value is placed on the person or site that was "first" to point something out.

These are the times that try men's souls. Unfortunately, our souls are being recorded on a magnetic disk these days.

It's hard to say whether these things are good or bad in and of themselves. In the end, we're discussing actual things that have happened, so it's not like people are inventing thing to be happy or to complain about. Opinions are still as much like assholes as they've ever been, and the Internet won't ever change that. Some folks feel you should be able to complain about things when they're bad, other folks feel fans shouldn't be going out of their way to create an atmosphere of negativity, and both sides can put together intelligent, reasonable arguments as to why they're correct.

But there's one thing I would hope both sides agree on -- anyone who tries to use those contributions fraudulently to further their own ends is a piece of garbage with no ethics.

I don't follow recruiting much because I'm a bear of very little brain and I don't have the spare horsepower to agonize over the decisions of 19-year-olds. As I've said many times, I long for the days of yesteryear when I got my Blue and Gold in March with the list of football players who had signed letters of intent and how they fit in the current puzzle. I didn't (and don't) need to know how good the players were who turned us down or who we decided we didn't want. There's only so much grass-is-greener syndrome I can fit in my life.

But a number of good friends of mine not only follow it, they report on it. And some of them are reporting coaches of other programs, particularly two from one school (whose names I won't mention but they rhyme with Suburban Liar and Peg's Mad At Her Son), are cultivating message board comments from ND sites and attempting to paint their own picture with them for already-committed ND recruits. They're inventing racial preferences on Charlie Weis' part because he went with a white quarterback over a black one. They're claiming that all the ND fans want Charlie and his whole staff fired. They believe, even though neither was an assistant coach at ND in the last three years, they can describe exactly how ND does things in all aspects, even though what they describe wasn't done even during their tenures.

All of this is, of course, crap. Charlie Weis went with the player he believed could win games for him, that's the long and short of it. ND fans of intelligence remember 19 wins in 23 games and two BCS bids very well, and none are pushing for Weis to be fired, nor is there any danger he will be. They want him to improve, certainly, and the quality of recruit he and Corwin Brown are bringing into the fold will help make that happen, but saying that Charlie will be "bought out" or the fans want him gone is fabrication of the worst kind.

One can only wonder what Kathi Lemire would think of that behavior if she were here to see it. I doubt she'd smile.

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Anonymous smitty said...

What comes around, goes around. The two coaches in question have bad days ahead of them, some place. Karma is a powerful thing.


9/23/2007 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

You said it, Smitty.

Of course, the true illogic of the situation is these coaches, while bad-mouthing ND out of one side of their faces to recruits, are still trying to keep their contacts with the school active (via large-dollar donors they met while in South Bend) in the hopes of still being able to coach here someday.

If I were a recruit's parent, right after asking them how they could know so much about a school they've been uninvolved with for years, and then asking them why they saw fit to denigrate another program rather than promote their own, I'd ask them about the various lunches and phone calls for the purpose of trying to stay in ND's good graces on the administrative side.

So much unethical behavior, so few jean shorts.

9/23/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why exactly is exactly is the "anonymous" coach trying to keep his ties to ND for a future coaching opportunity? He clearly had that opportunity 3 years ago and turned it down for greener pastures. What makes you think he has any intention of coming back now?

9/24/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

You'd have to ask him and the people he keeps calling and trying to meet with.

9/24/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Kamara is even a better thing!

9/24/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd hope a recruit would be smart enough to realize that if the coach is bashing another program that coach is part of a shaddy operation. If they can't figure it out, ND doesn't need um because once you get dupped by one slime ball, it's only a matter of time before another one gets you. Those personalities will feed off them their entire life.

9/24/2007 07:52:00 PM  

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