How Do You Solve a Problem Like Rex

If you are not a UK fan or you are a UK fan who does not read all of the online stuff about the team(do those people exist?) you might not know what the Rex problem is. About two hours  before the national championship game, former UK player and fan favorite Rex Chapman tweeted this – “Was messin’ ’round on Sat nite re: Cal. But word is – win or lose 2nite – it’s a …Cal 2 La-La-Land 2 coach Mamba’s Lakers. “. UK fans are very upset with Rex for tweeting that right before the game. I’m not upset for the following reasons:

1. I say this over and over again. My twitter and my facebook are mine to post what I want. If you don’t like what I tweet or post on Facebook it is your problem, not mine. If you don’t like it, don’t follow. As Ricky Gervais said “Following someone on Twitter and complaining about what they tweet about is like phoning someone to tell them you don’t want to talk to them”. Rex is not an employee of the university and is not a journalist. He has a right to post what someone told him if he wants. Don’t like it? Don’t follow.

2. The only people who would have a legitimate reason to be upset with Rex are Coach Calipari. his family, his team, his boss, the Lakers coach, his family, his team, his boss. The only reason anyone else would possibly be upset is because they didn’t like the information in the tweet and it made them enjoy a basketball game less. Again, it’s not Rex’s responsibility to woerry about how you feel about the information he tweeted.

3. It had no effect on the game at all. Some people have tried to use the “what if the players read the tweet and it made them play worse” argument. I’m not sure if any of the players follow Rex on twitter. It’s possible they do and would have seen it if they were checking twitter.  However, two hours before the national championship game the players were most likely not reading their twitter feed. They had more important things on their mind than what Rex Chapman had to say about Calipari’s job status.

4. This whole debacle once again helps the national perception of “UK fans as lunatics”. We are really willing to “excommunicate” Rex from the UK family because of what we consider an ill timed tweet? I’ve always been a fan of Rex Chapman and the events of Monday night did not change that.

Calipari Envy

I opened the Washington Post this morning to find that John Feinstein has chosen to write another article bashing John Calipari. Apparently, Calipari is the”everything wrong with college basketball” because he uses a rule that other people enacted better than everyone else in the game. Apparently, it is wrong for Coach Calipari to recruit the best high school players and help them achieve their dream of playing in the NBA. I guess he would prefer Coach Cal to be like Syracuse coach Jim Boheim who recently made negative comments about one of his own players to try to taint his draft status because he wouldn’t come  back and help Boheim win more games. Perhaps he should pattern his program after a small school like Cal Poly. Surely, they care more about student athletes? Right? Wrong. Cal Poly had a graduation rate of 62% among it’s players. UK? 82% and rising. Maybe he should be like Feinstein’s very good friend Gary Williams. He’s a hall of fame coach. He must have been  doing it the right way. Right? Wrong. Maryland had a 0 percent graduation rate for players entering school from 1997 to 2000, a period in which the school was building two Final Four teams. Think we ever heard from Feinstein about that? Nope.

All of those players at UK who aren’t real students have a B average. They go to class and take it seriously until such time someone offers them millions of dollars to quit. Want kids to stay in school? Stop offering the millions so early. A coach at any level before the professional level should see their job as preparing the kids for their next step in life. In college that should be either the NBA or graduation or in some cases both. For the most part, Calipari does exactly that. Many other schools don’t send kids to the NBA and also don’t graduate them. What exactly are those coaches doing? Looking out for themselves and no one else. If I had a kid who had the choice, I would send him to Calipari in a heartbeat.

People tend to hate success and successful people. Calipari is one of the best coaches coaching at the best college basketball program. People want to tear that down to feel better about themselves.

This Crow is Mighty Tasty

I have to admit that I was wrong about this Kentucky basketball team. I still hate the one and done rule and stand by everything I’ve said about it. It is bad for college basketball. I will admit, though that I was wrong about this group of one and doners.

I didn’t think they had the ability or desire to play as a team. I didn’t think they cared about winning at the college level. I thought they saw this as just an audition for the NBA and nothing else mattered to them. I never questioned that they were talented. I never questioned that they were good kids. I questioned their desire to play as a team and win at the college level. I was still wrong.

It took a while for it to all come together, but it has. They have become a team. They are showing desire to win. They are working very hard to move on in the tournament. I admit I was wrong about them and I’ve never been happier to so wrong.

It’s An Invisible Life

Occasionally, as I try to fall asleep at night odd thoughts cross my mind. One of those is the idea of an It’s a Wonderful Life moment. The chance to see what the world would be like if you had never been born. Of course we all want the George Bailey outcome. We see that the world is a much better place because we existed. Without us, the world is a dismal place. I would think that it would really suck if you had that moment and discovered that everyone is better off if you had never existed. That would be a hard one to deal with. Recently, though, I had had the thought that one other outcome could possibly be worse than “life is better without you” What if you had your moment and saw that your life had no impact, good or bad, on anyone?

Your family(obviously if you have kids this would not be the case)- no change. no happier, no sadder, not better or worse

Your friends – exact same life they have with you in the world.

Not one difference between the world where you exist and the one without you. I think that would be extremely depressing and worse that seeing that it is better without you.

So, make sure this doesn’t happen. Go out and make a difference(preferably for good, not bad) today.

Paying Players and Graduating Coaches

I decided to would write out my thoughts on two stories in college basketball. The idea of paying players and the Masiello situation.

First, Masiello: I am not one of those UK people who have decided they hate Steve Masiello for whatever reason.  I never met Masiello, but I know people have the same dislike for Travis Ford for being a jerk at UK. I did have class with  Travis and found him to be a decent guy. I always assume these people are the ones who bothered the players while they were out and about on campus and decided they were jerks because they didn’t stop what they were doing to chat/sign autographs. I also have no problem with Masiello coaching at Louisville. It makes sense. He is a Pitino guy. Louisville was the right spot for him.  So, that said, on to the resume fiasco.

Was it wrong to say you graduated from UK when you really didn’t? Yes, it was. It was a stupid lie because it is easy to find out the truth. Masiello had been lucky that none of his other employers cared enough to check his graduation status. His luck finally ran out. Do I think the fact that he didn’t graduate makes him unqualified as a coach? No, I don’t. He is a very good coach and the team that gives him a second chance will be lucky to have him. I assume he will go back to finish the degree somewhere (most likely UL where he could be a graduate assistant) and then will get hire on somewhere and will win again. I’m a big believer in second chances and am tired of people hammering him for this. He did something wrong. He can fix it and learn from it. Move on.

Paying Players:

I’m so tired of hearing people talk about paying players. These players are getting a free college education. It will cost over $100,000 for my son to go to college.  I looked up the price to attend Duke. It is over $60,000 per year. That’s $240,000 over four years. If you are an athlete, you get this for free and I’m supposed to feel sorry for you? The problem is, many of them don’t see this as value because they don’t really won’t to be in college. They just want to play basketball for money. Free college education does not seem as good as cold hard cash. They want both. Free education and cash. I think the solution is simple. Get rid of the one and done rule and let players go pro immediately out of high school. If you want cash for play, skip college and go pro. Not good enough for the NBA but still want cash for play? Go to Europe or go play in the NBA D League. Good at basketball but still value a college education? Go to school and play basketball while taking advantage of the extremely valuable compensation of a free college education with the added bonus of a guaranteed job with a booster after your career is over. College sports is about student athletes. Let’s get back to that.

Customer Service?

I recently called a government agency with a complaint. The basic complaint boiled down to “I don’t think the person who is supposed to be providing this service is actually providing the service regularly”. Three days later I get a voice mail response. The agency’s way of handling the complaint? According to the call, they went to the person and said “Someone said you might not be doing your job. Is this true?” The person obviously responded with “no” and then they called me to say that I’m obviously a liar because this exhausting investigation turned up no proof that there is a problem. Must be nice to be in a position where the “customer” has no options to take their business elsewhere.

Identity Crisis

I don’t usually post much about personal stuff, but I decided I would feel better if I typed this out. I have been going through a little bit of a difficult time recently, so I have done some soul searching. I think I have figured out what is wrong, I am in the middle of an identity crisis.

I have never been someone whose identity has been defined by his job. If I was, I wouldn’t be feeling this way. I have been in the same job for almost 20 years. It would be easy to place all of the blame for my problems on my job and frustrations with being stuck in the same place, but I know that is not the case. The problem is the change in who I am away from work.

When the kids were younger, I would leave work and spend my evenings with the kids either watching them ride their bikes or play on the swing set. Other parents would be out at the same time and I would spend time chatting with them. As the kids got older, I would leave work and spend a lot of time as coach. I would coach baseball in the spring and fall and basketball in the winter. Eventually, I started also spending time at the dance studio waiting for Jessica’s classes to end. When I wasn’t acting as dad or coach, I was spending time as Mr Alan, youth group volunteer.

Now that the kids are older, I don’t spend time chatting with other parents as we watch our kids play. I’m not spending time coaching youth sports. The way the schedule worked out this year I’m not even at the dance studio. My son is usually at work or his girlfriend’s house when I get home from work, not waiting in the driveway to play basketball. Add to this the fact that I am at a different church and no longer working with a church youth group and I have lost all of my non-work activities that identified me. I am still dad, but in a different way than before. I spend a lot more time alone than I am used to.  I am Alan Simpson, librarian and then I am Alan Simpson, guy who watches TV while his kids to their own thing.

Considering I’ve never really identified with Alan Simpson, librarian and I only have a little while left before I am Alan Simpson, retired librarian and only 4 years left before both kids are out of high school I guess I need to find the new me.