Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the News 10

While I have not touched an actual newspaper in some time, I do skim through the online news headlines each day. There is always something that catches my attention, whether it involves human conflict, a human interest piece, the sports wrap, or just the usual absurdities. In this series, I carve out a space for my opinions, reminiscences, or comments.

Little League Baseball - Last summer there was a feel-good story in the news about a plucky group of youngsters from Chicago that came out on top of the official Little League World Series. This team was not just your regular generic group of 8 to 12 year olds, but was a group of African-American kids from Chicago that were the great symbol that might ultimately stem the tide of decreasing numbers of black folks in baseball. Several months after the celebrations died down, it was found that the coaches had subversively stocked the team with ringers from areas well outside their jurisdiction. In a league with a long history of cheating and scandal, it is abundantly clear that the problem with youth sports is not the kids, but the adults. The team was stripped of its title on Feb. 11, 2015.

Jerry Tarkanian - The UNLV Runnin' Rebels were a force in Division I men's basketball in the 1980s. Year after year the teams were absolutely stacked with talent and they played a style saturated with showmanship and attitude. In direct contrast to the young guns out on the floor, their coach was a ringer for Uncle Festus on the Addams Family. He had a nervous habit of kneeling on the floor in front of his bench munching on a towel. Jerry Tarkanian was definitely the face of the team, a skilled coach, and more than a bit of an instigator, especially when dealing with the leadership of the NCAA. Jerry died on Feb. 11, 2015, the only person cut from the cloth that he came from.