A t-shirt for you.
November 30, 2005
Someone has to say it, so it's going to be me. I know a lot of Penn State fans as a result of going to college in Pennsylvania, not too far from State College. Here goes: Penn State's successful season and #3 BCS position is bad for the team in the long term. There. I said it. It's great for this season, no doubt, as they will play in one of the big bowls and Joe Paterno gets that one last great year. However, JoePa has clearly lost it, if you look at more than just this year. His teams have underachieved and been outrecruited for their in state talent. High school sports is a big big deal in Pennsylvania, and it's most definitely football country. Many were clamoring for the soon to be 79 year old Paterno to retire after each of the past few seasons, but he stubbornly hung on. I fear for my Nittany Lion fan friends that this year of success will keep him around until he's physically unable to go to work every day. I'm not saying it's bad that Penn State had a good year, and I have nothing bad to say about Paterno, as his athletes tend to graduate at a good rate, he has had a lot of success in his career, and his teams have mostly held their own in one of the toughest conferences in the country. However, it is time for him to pass the reins along to someone younger who can commit to keeping the team at a high level in the long term. There is no reason for Penn State to ever underachieve the way they have been for the past few years. Of course, I will say that if Paterno uses this season as the capstone of a spectacular career and rides off into the sunset after a BCS win, I can't imagine a better scenario than that.
The Sports Prof wrote a blog post in September of 2004 looking at possible replacements for Paterno, and that post is worth looking at again. He eventually ranks his favorites, and I like his choices based on what I know. Some are probably unavailable, since it's been over a year since he made the list. The two choices I would narrow it to if it were me are Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who gets mentioned for most big jobs, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress. Tedford is likely unavailable thanks to his five year contract extension he received last December (in response to several high profile open jobs like Notre Dame and Florida), but you never know. Barring Tedford, I say bring Childress in for a talk and see what could pry him away from the Eagles. He has the advantage of being well known in Pennsylvania and has run a successful Philadelphia offense on a team that has been at the top of the NFC for some time. The main issue with him is that he may want to try for a NFL head job instead of going back to college.
It's obvious that Penn State will never fire Paterno, no matter what he does, unless they catch him running stadiums at 3am with no pants. This is why I hope this seaosn is the last hurrah he'd been waiting for so Penn State can get out there and find the next great Nittany Lion coach.
by Andy at 11:58 AM
November 28, 2005
November 27, 2005
November 20, 2005
This is my third post today, so go read the other two.
A League of Their Own was on today, and it always hooks me. The "no crying in baseball" scene is directly followed by the bus driver quitting and then the poisoning scene. I rarely laugh as hard as I do at this silly movie. In a five minute span, you've got "There's no crying in baseball," "it's that lump that's three feet above your a**," "did anyone ever tell you that you look like a p**** with a little hat on," the bus driver, Lou, throwing a handful of dirt in Miss Cuthbert's face, "by the way, you were great in The Wizard of Oz," "Evelyn, I'm going to have to kill your son," "He's really a sweetheart....Yeah, I hope I have five just like him," and "in all my years as a doctor, I never saw a woman throw up that much."
This is Tom Hanks' greatest movie, and I refuse to discuss otherwise.
by Andy at 7:51 PM
The following is reposted from The Sports Law Blog, a blog written by a law professor with an interest in the legal aspect of the sporting world. It throws a sports-related twist on something I've been saying for years.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Comparing Harry Potter Fans and Sports Fans
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens tomorrow in theaters. Upon hearing that, many of you may have had my reaction: Who cares?
I really do not understand the social infatuation with the Harry Potter books and films. It's one thing for children to be attracted to the storylines in these films--since the films are about children--but I find it a little strange when adults are so captivated by fantasy worlds full of magic wands and pre-adolescent-heroes.
Along those lines, I remember really liking the film The Never Ending Story when I was about 7 years old. But then again, I was about 7 years old.
So how does any of this relate to sports? Well, without any empirical evidence, I suspect that a number of adult Harry Potter fans are the very same persons who find sports to be frivolous, and they are the very same persons who regard adult sports fans as juvenile and sophomoric, even unsophisticated.
But really, is it less mature to seriously follow the plight of an actual team, which plays actual, organized sporting events--featuring real persons doing real things--or to seriously follow the plight of fantasy characters who are very young and have magical powers?
by Andy at 8:50 AM
I just read an article in Time Magazine's "What's Next?" issue. Steve Jobs is on the cover of this magazine holding the new iPod with video capabilities. Article after article in magazine after magazine praises this guy for being so tuned in to what the next big thing is and being a genius. Is he a genius? He might be, but few of these articles have any sort of balance to them. Thankfully, this Time article is one of the more evenhanded. It actually mentions the difference between Microsoft and Apple, and explains why Microsoft has soundly thrashed its competitor thanks to agreeing to license its software, rather than hold total control of it all. Most articles leave this tidbit out while gushing about "design" or "synergy" in the Apple headquarters.
Don't get me wrong, Apple has made (or at least sold) some outstanding products. The OS X operating system is slick, if not always intuitive for Windows users. The iPod is everything it's cracked up to be, though it is worth noting that Apple just designed the outside. The guts were designed elsewhere, and Apple doesn't manufacture the thing. Worth noting, however, is the fact that the design is largely what let it dominate the portable music market. I own an iPod mini and would recommend it to anyone.
Where the article goes astray is in its praise for the new video iPod, assuming that it will be the next big thing. Even Jobs himself admits that there is zero market for video that will play on this thing. Who wants to watch video on a 2.5" screen? Not many people, I would guess. Jobs hopes I'm wrong, and that's the way he works. Apple doesn't do much market research; it's mostly hunches from the top, and if you don't like it, work somewhere else. This results in a lot of misses, with the hits described above. Among the misses are the iTunes enabled Motorola Rokr, which, from what I can tell, doesn't work very well and doesn't hold enough songs, and the iPod photo, which proved that people don't buy 6 megapixel cameras so they can squint at the iPod to see them. This is why I think the iPod video is not going to sell very well. It was hard enough to look at such small still pictures, making them move won't solve anything. People want bigger screens. This is why people buy 60 inch televisions and I paid a little extra to get a 19 inch monitor. Laptop manufacturers seem to be racing to make giant laptops with huge, true to life, LCD screens. Part of my skepticism is what I'm christening the "Why test." This is the Why Test: Why would I want to own one of these? For the standard iPod, it's obvious - carry most of your music collection with you at all times. It gets a little dicier for the Rokr, the iPod photo, and the video iPod, which breeds skepticism.
Jobs has proven to have a deft touch in many cases, but I hope the next fawning magazine article about Apple's great corporate culture or the genius of its CEO remembers the iPod photo and the Rokr...and perhaps, the latest video iPod.
by Andy at 8:32 AM
November 12, 2005
If I won (I'd have to buy a ticket first), these are things I would do. Now, they aren't the first things I would do, but hey, it would take a while to spend that much cash.
1. Eat at Charlie Trotter's, twice
2. Buy a suit that cost at least $2000 and a leather jacket that cost at least $500
3. Get a pilot license
4. Get rid of that Saab once and for all
5. Videotape myself lighting a $100 bill on fire, just so I could watch it
6. Go back to Europe (minus the tour bus and Polish sense of time)
7. Three Words: Obscenely Large Television
8. Sit in the seats behind home plate and try not to flinch when a foul ball comes ripping back
9. Toss cash around until I convince Wheaton College to restore the wrestling room to it's original size (as long as none of the money helps build this superfluous building for the Conservatory of Music)
10. I would still be a wrestling coach
by Andy at 8:20 PM
November 9, 2005
It boils down to this: Do not spend more than one summer working at a summer camp unless you fit into one of the following categories:
1. You plan to be a nurse or accountant - shortage renders summer experience moot.
2. You plan to be a teacher or pastor - camp experience may be field-related.
3. Your dad/mom/grandparents/aunt/uncle owns or has influence in a company you can work for.
The reason I say this is that in this climate, your accumulated experiences matter quite a bit for getting a job after college. Spending three or four summers chasing 10 year olds around in a camp setting doesn't really get you ready to put the communications degree to work. There are thousands of people just like you out there, especially in the liberal arts, and the way to differentiate yourself is to get great (not just good) grades and find some way to get practical experience over the summers or via internships.
Case in point. Janet is in class with a girl who studied history obviously. She spent all her summers working at camp. It's now November 9th, and she has yet to find a job since moving to Chicago at the beginning of the semester. She has no skills, unless you count building a model of the grand canyon out of silly putty, or whatever goes on at camp.
Skills people. That's what employers want. Why are you better than the kid who picked up his diploma right before you? Because you developed your skills at a summer job that is at least tangentially related to your field. At least, that's the answer you should try to be able to give.
Camp can be a great experience, no doubt, but I would try to limit it to the first or second summer in college. After that, burn up the phone and email lines and call in every family favor you can to get yourself an internship, unless you fit into the categories described up at the beginning.
by Andy at 10:58 AM