Jan 8, 2007

KING SIZED BLOGS 2006 Year in Review: Sports 2 & Books

Greg once again did a great job on his sports comments. But I am confused. How can a dyed in the wool, bleeding garnet and gold FSU fan cheer for Florida tonight? You can check out the travesty of Greg's comments here. I know that whoever wins tonight will win the title. Which is why, as much as I cannot stand Jim Tressell and Ohio State, I am cheering for them. Why? Because I don't want to listen to Florida fans bragging about how awesome they are. Gator fans are THE MOST annoying fans in college football. Even if they lose, they will spend the next year trying to convince everyone why they were robbed. So, we have to hear them yap anyway, but at least they will be miserable. As for Ohio State, Tressell is like the second coming of Saint Bobby Bowden - the loveable coach how somehow knows nothing going on with his players. If there are any more Ohio State player incidents, they will have to require their players to all purue the same degree for them to choose: Bachelors of Science in Criminal Science (with practicum)

Also, yesterday something happened in the sports world that reminded me of something I forgot to include. I absolutely cannot stand when college football (or basketball) coaches pull this "I am not going anywhere" stuff. The latest was Bobby Petrino of Louisville. Here's his stats. In his four years at Louisville, Petrino went 9-4, 11-1, 9-3, and 12-1. He had two bowl wins, including this year's Orange Bowl with its big fat BCS payout. And in four years, he had TWO contract extensions and/or raises. The latest was signed this LAST AUGUST for 10 years and $25 million. This was accompanied by the standard "I am in Louisville for the long haul." So now, he is the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, with a 5 year, $24 million contract.

Now, if Louisville was to want to get rid of Petrino, they would have had to BUY OUT his contract. So, even if he pulled a George O'Leary and his team went into the toilet, they would still have to pay him $22.5 million (unless they could negotiate a different set of terms). They couldn't cut his salary to reflect his poor performance. But, Petrino (and his ilk - Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, Charlie Weis, Kirk Ferentz) will use the vultures of the NFL as reason to demand raises and extensions. So, what does Louisville get for Petrino breaking his word? Well, the normal stipulation is a buyout clause - where the coach is on the hook for some figure (in Petrino's case, probably $5-8 million). But he won't pay that. Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta will. So, Petrino got extra money each year, KNOWING that he was going to screw Louisville as soon as he could.

Instead of Louisville going for the national championship next year, their top juniors (Brohm, Bush) will bolt for the NFL. And the college will have to go raid some other school (probably Tulsa) for their coach. And the dominoes continue. This is why teams like USF have put enormouse buyout clauses into their coach's contract - just so they get SOMETHING back for getting the shaft. And after Mike Vick won't listen to Petrino, and gets all uppity, and the Falcons have another couple of last season explosions, Petrino will get fired, get the money left in his deal, and then go back to college and coach someone like Cal when their coach bolts.

That is why I admire guys like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden and Coach K - they have had other chances over the years. But they would rather stay for the long term and build a legacy instead of build a bank account. And don't feel bad for them, they make plenty of money. Paterno has made so much over the years that he is one of the biggest donors to the school. The modern coach just sees their job as a stepping stone and resume builder. Look at the list. Urban Meyer shafted Bowling Green AND Utah before coming to Florida. And don't think he won't do the same thing to the Gators after another couple seasons when the Houston Texans or Cleveland Browns or Tampa Bay Bucs come calling. Nick Saban has screwed over Michigan State, LSU, and the Miami Dolphins. And there are many more - we probably will see several this year. It just makes me angry. Even George O'Leary pulled this at UCF. He rode the wave of excitement over UCF's first bowl game and scored a 10 year extension. He promptly followed that up with a stunning 4-8 season. My only hope is that the Falcons and Petrino get exactly what they deserve - each other.

As for my 2006 Best Books, I have not read like I normally do this year. There has been so much going on in my life that reading has gotten pushed out. I am tried to rectify this now - I'm reading a few different books now and have others on deck. Since I am pretty careful about what I read, I don't have a lot of disappointing books - although I do have one this year. So, here is the unabridged book review.

Pornified by Pamela Paul: Well, I don't think I can call this ENJOYABLE. But it was the best book I read this year. It was extremely enlightening. It also gave Defender Ministries (my company) some real ammo in its battle to equip people struggling with internet pornography. The book examines the "pornification of America." It has stats, stories, and info about how heavy use of this stuff severely affects people. It is also not a book for the weak of heart or easily offended. It was not a Christian book, but I think every pastor should read it. It is just that important to see what is going on. Plus, Pamela Paul seems really cool. I wrote her to tell her how much the book meant to us, and she actually wrote back to encourage us to do well. She loved our ministry and helped us get some breaks on book purchases. Can't beat that.
Hood by Stephen Lawhead: I read one of Lawhead's series before, but that was it. This is a retelling of the Robin Hood saga, except with the characters and settings reflected in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. He even argues in the postlogue how he feels that is entirely possible. Absolutely engrossing book. It was the best book of fiction I have read in years. Of course, now I have to wait for the other two books of the trilogy. Dang.
Prayer by Phillip Yancey: I don't think I can have a year end review of books without a Yancey book on it. This may be his most personal book yet - really looking at the hard questions about prayer. No matter what he writes, Yancey always makes you think. And you are usually better for that examination.
The Shepherd, The Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry: I read the book in about an hour. It was short, fast paced, nostalgic, and hillarious. I haven't laughed at loud at a book for a while like that. I have always love Barry's stuff. This was a "novella" - which I am sure will get turned into a movie soon. I will rush to see it.

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer: I am being kind of harsh on this book. It is the latest to try to capitalize on the DaVinci Code craziness. There were some cool sections, and I loved sitting there they whole time knowing every location - since it was set in West Palm Beach, FL. I kept going, "I know where that cemetery is. I remember that quote. That is right by my old house." What really bugged me was that the book promised to be a big story of a Masonic cover up. That is what it was pushed as. That is what everything promoting it said (website, ads, cover summary). It turns out that was just a sub-story. And one that didn't make any sense. Mostly it was due to some crazy guy's delusions. So, instead of it being a real nail-biter with an edge, it was just a rather ordinary political thriller. I was really hoping that it would have the climax at the West Palm Beach Masonic Temple (instead of at Woodlawn Cemetery). I really wanted to go, "I know where that it. My grandfather used to go there." Boo.

After Greg's response, I think we'll do the last entry - movies. That is unless Greg wants to cover something else like music, politics, food. I didn't think I had enough to justify a whole entry on those areas. We could do a catch all if he wants. If not, movies will be next.

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