Strange Happenings…

Let me be clear here; I know that I am certainly not the most sensitive and caring person on the planet.  I plead guilty to having stereotypical images that overlay various individuals and groups of individuals; I even laugh out loud at ethnic humor – when the joke is funny.  But even I in my most incorrigible moments recognize that this next item is more than just a little “over the line”.

The NY Post reported that women squash players at a tournament in Spain were given vibrators and a waxing set as “gifts” – – among other things to be sure.  As you might imagine these women were not happy about this and made their feelings known.  The tournament organizers said that they were sorry that the players felt “aggrieved by the prizes” and then tried to apologize for the situation.  Any attempt at an apology was probably doomed as soon as this statement appeared as part of the apology:

  • “At no moment was it done from a sexist standpoint.”

This incident is more than jaw-dropping; this report deserves a full double face-palm.  And just so you do not think that this is some kind of belated April Fool’s prank on my part, here is the link to the report in the NY Post.

Oh, but there is more bizarre sports “stuff” out there today.  A school has been kicked out of its conference because its football program is – – wait for it – – too good for the rest of the schools in that conference.  No, I am not referring to Clemson or Alabama or Ohio State; I am not referring to Linfield College who has not had a losing season in football since 1956 in the Northwest Conference (Division III).  No, this action comes from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division III) and the penalty falls on the University of St. Thomas.  The “Tommies” will be “involuntarily removed” from the MIAC at the end of the 2020/21 athletic scheduling year.

  • [Aside:  Doesn’t it sound ever so much kinder and gentler to be “involuntarily removed” from a conference than it does to be “kicked out”?]

Naturally, when I read about this conference action, I had to go and look to see just how much better than the rest of the league St. Thomas has been.  Indeed, they have been putting a hurt on the rest of the conference teams.  Just a couple of stats for you here:

  • In conference games in 2017, St. Thomas outscored its opponents by a combined score of 458-62.
  • In the 2015 season, St Thomas outscored its conference opponents by a combined score of 451-67.
  • In November 2017, St. Thomas ran up the score over one of its conference competitors, St Olaf, and won the game 97-0.

It turns out that football is not the only sport where St. Thomas is dominant.  The conference has an annual trophy awarded to the school with the best overall record in all sports for each gender.  St. Thomas had won both the men’s trophy and the women’s trophy every year from 2008 through 2017.

There are 13 schools in the MIAC today; the MIAC was founded in 1920 with 7 original members; St. Thomas was one of those 7 schools in the original incarnation of the MIAC.  The characterization of St Thomas being involuntarily removed from the MIAC was not the only grandiloquence in the announcement.  The conference mavens felt it necessary to point out that the Tommies were:

“… [one of the] seven founding members of the MIAC and will leave the conference in good standing with a long and appreciated history of academic and athletic success.”

Let me translate that for you:

  • St. Thomas has been in the conference for 100 years and they have dominated the athletic competitions in the conference for much of that time.  The rest of the schools got tired of getting their asses kicked and decided to send St. Thomas packing – – but with best wishes and with appreciation of their prior success.  Oh, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Obviously, it costs money for schools to run an athletic program – no matter if you are talking about a Division 1-A football program or a middle school basketball team.  In those situations where there is marginal revenue generated by the program, there is a need to impose cost controls to stem the flow of red ink.  Watauga High School in Boone NC seems to have come up with an interesting approach to cost controls for their basketball programs.

Laura Berry has been successful in coaching the girls’ basketball team to consecutive playoff appearances and a conference championship in 2018.  The school needed a coach for the boys’ team and decided to hire Ms. Berry to take on both coaching positions simultaneously.  In case you are wondering how she is going to be able to do that, it turns out that the boys’ team and the girls’ team play all their games at the same venue for the season.  That saves the school district the cost of buying one of those “Beam-Me-Up-Scotty-Machines” made famous on Star Trek to get her from one game to the next efficiently.

Here is a link to a report in the Watauga Democrat with all the details on this hiring decision by the school district.

Finally, here is a comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News that demonstrates yet another way to kill two birds with one stone:

“Having drawn the top pick in the NBA draft, the New Orleans Pelicans are expected to select Duke’s Zion Williamson.

“But that’s just when the dealing should begin. If they’re smart, the Pelicans will trade Williamson to Utah in exchange for their long-lost nickname.

“How perfect would that be?

“Utah would be home to Zion, and New Orleans would have back the Jazz.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………