The Reality of College Sports


I just wanted to comment on all of the “One-and-Done” talk that permeates the air this time every year. Who are we to complain that talented, athletic young men decide to make a lot of money while they can? If I was Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, I would do the same thing. The risk is far too great to stay in college. One injury could literally cost millions of dollars. If an elite college athlete (and let’s not forget that “Elite” athletes were recruited by…and won a national championship for…John Calipari and the University of Kentucky) wants to complete a college education, they still can. Steve Young earned his law degree while playing at a very high level in the NFL.

My point is, this is not our choice. We want our teams to win. We want national titles. We want to be dynasties. That requires talent. And talent is worth millions of dollars in professional sports. Those with talent should be free to use that talent while it lasts. They should not have to consider the opinions of (mostly) talentless fans. This is in their best interests. And this is not the fault of any college coaches. They are simply working within a system that has been forced upon them. John Calipari is not the devil. He does not force “kids” to move on. In fact, he would LOVE to have this years entire team remain in school. That is a fact. He has said it himself. But he also knows that this is not his choice. He knows that there are risks involved. He knows his players. And this is their dream now. Until a few weeks ago, that dream was to win a national championship. Today, it is to win an NBA championship…and be very wealthy to boot.

With all of that said, I believe that the NBA (and all other professional sports) could follow the lead of the NFL. Require two years removed from high school before these athletes are eligible to play professionally. That takes this choice out of a players hands for one more year. They can attend college knowing that they have two years to prepare themselves for the part of being a multimillionaire super star that has nothing to do with a game. They could use this time to learn the pitfalls of sudden wealth. They could be coached to not only succeed in their sport, but in their personal life.

By tmhale13

Pay For Play? Yes Please!!

August 19, 2011

I believe that I have had a change of heart. For as long as I can remember, I have felt that college athletes should be treated exactly the same as all other students. That is the driving force behind NCAA rules that govern collegiate sports/athletes. If a school is allowed to provide compensation above-and-beyond to elite players, it simply becomes a bidding war between the most “wealthy” programs. With that said, I also know that it is already just a bidding war. Recruiters, coaches and administrators may start the bidding with the promise of a top-notch, free education, but boosters too often pad the offers with money, cars, girls and parties. In the case of the recent Miami Hurricane woes, the school was very likely aware of this and condoned it on some level.

Now on to my change of heart. I now feel that high profile athletes need to be compensated on some level. Colleges make millions on the backs of their athletes. Boosters pour in money and fans buy tickets and merchandise to be a part of the excitement. This excitement is provided by the players. Sure, they are getting “paid” in free tuition, books and housing. But so is the kid that earned a full ride based on academics. And that is where the river parts. The athletes are bringing in millions of dollars. And while I am sure the academics are earning the school some form of notoriety, and probably money in grants and patents and such, I do not see how it is a level playing field. When was the last time the chem lab sold 70,000 seats? Can you recall walking into the mall and seeing your favorite mathematicians jersey selling for $75? Well, maybe at M.I.T., but I REALLY doubt it.

This whole thing is compounded by the fact that NCAA scholarship athletes are even limited on having a part-time job. They are not allowed to work during their active sports season. Is this kind of limitation placed on a scholarship English student? I think not. So, if an athlete is not allowed to earn outside of the system, why shouldn’t he be earning inside? Maybe the NCAA could come up with a nice algorithm to put value on a player. Something that considers the schools value in the sport in question (my beloved Kentucky would be a pretty high value basketball school, but relatively low in football).  The position (especially in football) and productivity would be key factors. How dependent is your program on any given player? Your Heisman-hopeful running back is probably your biggest asset. He will probably be your top earner.

I know this is very convoluted. But there are far bigger brains out there that can devise a fair system that helps curb the seemingly endless NCAA violations. It is just a different world than the one where these rules were introduced. It is time to be realistic. And if you need someone to crunch the numbers required to formulate such a plan…just grab one of your free-ride math students. This can be their way of giving back to the sports that fund their education (did you really think that sports money wasn’t getting spread around?).

By tmhale13

A Man Of Substance

July 6, 2011

On July 4th, my family lost a great man. Allan “Bud” Perry is my Grandfather. Not was…IS. He has passed, but he is not gone. I hope that some small part of him will live on in me. And thanks to moments like the pictures above, I know that he lives on in his great-grandchildren.

These pictures were the very first things that popped in my mind when I was told that he was gone. It was immediately followed by a flood of memories of my own times with a great man. Fishing on Dewey Lake. Learning to drive in the Volkswagon he had restored for me. Talking with him about hitchhiking across the country (him, not me).

I am sure I could fill a page with words about Bud Perry, but it is really all just leading to one thing. He will be missed.

I for one am grateful for all you did for me. I only hope you know how much you meant to me…and to my children.

We love you!

By tmhale13

Will The Next al Qaeda Leader Please Stand Up…And Move To The “X” On The Ground!

May 3, 2011

The world became a better place on Sunday. Or did it? As people around the globe reacted to the death of Osama bin Laden, I simply wondered “What’s next?”. While I was (and am) glad that bin Laden had finally paid for his crimes, I was also very cognizant that al Qaeda still stood. Osama bin Laden was simply the face of the terrorist organization. His value in 2011 was in the fact that he was still alive and (arguably) free. His actions on September 11, 2001 had gone largely unpunished. Terrorists the world over looked to him as proof that you could take a shot at America and live to brag about it. That ended on Sunday.

But as anyone that tends a garden knows, when you pull one weed…two more will soon pop up. Bin Laden was largely a figurehead in the al Qaeda of post-9/11. He was not so much a leader as he was an inspirer. His effectiveness as a field general diminished as his flight from justice became paramount to the cause. The men that continued to wage war on anyone that thought differently are still out there. They sit in hovels and shacks assembling bombs, loading guns and plotting our demise. Their “leader” is dead and they will waste no time in attempting some form of retribution.

I would like to think that this death would force the rest to take measure of their hate. But that simply is not going to happen. It will just strengthen that hatred. It will amplify the shouts of “American infidels!”. Even if those shouts are nothing more than whispers meant to be inaudible to our listening technology and deep-cover agents. I suspect that the al Qaeda recruitment will flourish, just as our own armed services saw on September 12, 2001.

Osama bin Laden is dead! Al Qaeda is alive and well. Who will be the new face of terror.

By tmhale13

Time In A Bottle

April 5, 2011

Back in April of 2001 (Wow! That was 10 years ago!!!) I had just started working in the Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office at Eglin AFB, Florida. It was Earth Day and my unit had volunteered to go do some beach/bay clean-up. I hardly knew anyone yet, but I figured this was a great way to socialize and break some ice. We took a bus out to a somewhat “off the path” area of Choctawhatchee Bay where folks had been dumping junk for several years. We found refrigerators, washing machines and even a semi-buried jet ski. And mixed in among the “big ticket” items were just piles and piles of plain old Hefty-bagged garbage.

This must have been a dumping ground for decades based on the sheer amount of trash. We dutifully hauled all we could up the bank and loaded it onto waiting trucks. The trucks then carted it off to a proper dumping area a few miles away. Back came the trucks and we continued this circle-of-refuse. As we got down to the bottom (Hey! I see sand!), I started pulling out bags that had old tin beer cans with real pull tabs. Now this trash is starting to date itself. I figure that I must be grabbing stuff from the late 70s. I transfer the garbage from its decaying bags into fresh, new trash bags. As I finally get to the real bottom and start having to dig items out of the sand, I find something interesting. Among the rusted, shattered and eroded items is one fully intact glass Coca-Cola bottle. It appears to be filled with dirt and sand. That fact must have helped it not be crushed under the weight that had been piled upon it for all these years.

It may sound a little sad, but I felt a bit like Indiana Jones unearthing some ancient treasure. I was fascinated by the resilience of this glass object. I take it down to the bay and start cleaning it up. I use a stick to loosen the dirt inside and then flush it out as much as I can with water. It is still pretty nasty, but it is whole. Then I examine all the markings on the bottle. No way! That is just crazy! Right there on the bottom, in raised print, is the production date of this marvelous artifact. I had only been off the mark by about 10 years. In fact, this particular bottle had been produced on July 19th in the year 1970. Which just happens to be my exact date of birth! Call it Karma. Or maybe call it fate. But I can tell you that I felt a little bit of awe as I stood on that freshly cleaned patch of earth and contemplated the odds of finding THAT bottle in all of THAT trash. Not to mention the fact that this little Coke bottle, that was born on the exact same day as me, will probably be around well after I am gone. I took the bottle home and gave it a thorough cleaning. It is in perfect condition. Maybe one day I will be cremated and have my remains sealed up in this tough little hunk of glass. What a story my kids and grandkids would have to tell about the ashes in the Coke bottle…

By tmhale13

Memories…Like The Corners Of My Mind

March 7, 2011

I was driving along this evening and “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue came on the radio. This caused two simultaneous thoughts. One, it made me want to drive fast. and two, it triggered memories of when I first started to love this song. And that is when I started to think about the affect music has on my memory.

In the case of “Kickstart My Heart”, I was taken back to my first year at Morehead State. But more precisely, it was memories of driving to or from school in my ’66 Mustang. This song would come on and I would just hammer down! Those winding roads would turn into my own personal playground. There was no such thing as an “iPod Playlist” in 1988, but I did make a few awesome mix tapes for my various road trips. Crue was all over these tapes…along with Kiss, Whitesnake and Ratt. When I drove, the soundtrack was ROCK!

But my memories are not all on four wheels. And music seems to be a great trigger for all of them. So many songs remind me of specific times. Listening to “Paradise City” laying on the infield at Pikeville’s track, waiting for my event to be called. or Sitting in David Cochran’s car in the senior parking lot listening to “Push It” by Salt n’ Peppa. But just as many simply seem to be tied to an era. I have no specific memory with The Eagles, but I do know that it was just about the only thing I ever heard in Sean Salyers’ truck.

To me, these songs are like anchors. I can be drifting along with no particular place to go, and then THAT song comes on. That song that stops my forward progress and holds my mind still. I am just locked into a memory. I am both taken back to another time and reminded just how long ago that was. Even during the strongest waves of memory, I am aware of the time that has passed since. And no matter how fond the memories, once the song ends I return to my life with a smile on my face. Those songs and those memories are the fingerprint of my life. And there is no other life quite like it.

By tmhale13

The Family Keeps Growing

January 26, 2011

About a week and a half ago, I was sitting home nursing a surgically repaired shoulder. Julia and Payton decided to head to the mall. Not long after they left, I started getting texts from Payton. She was going on and on about some “Sugar Bears” that she had stumbled upon. I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about, so I turned to Google. I discovered that Sugar Bears were also known as Sugar Gliders. I had seen them under that name a few times. I countered that they were cool, but we were not getting any. She kept on (as teenagers tend to do) and I just fired back “mommy will say no”. To that I got a shocking response “she is right here waiting for you to say yes”! Really! Well, what do I do now? I call and am told that Julia did not say yes outright, but she did not say no. And she did think they were really cool as well.

They decided that we would just go back to the mall after Rylee got back from a birthday party. We did not tell her the reason, just that we needed to go to the mall. She found the critters as we walked through and she darted over to check them out. She listened to every word the guy said as he passed his personal pet around and let everyone see/touch it. I also stood there and took it all in. My interest was really peaked now. This thing made no attempt to escape. It did not seem to be fazed by the crowd. It was pretty impressive.

After the canned speech, Rylee asked a few questions herself. Then she calmly walked over to Julia and told her that she had Christmas money and that she would pay if she could have one. That is a resounding statement since Rylee hates to part with her money. We sent her to pet the animals again and we found another employee. We asked our own questions and decided that these had the potential to make some great pets. They are intelligent, social and entertaining. And not terribly difficult to manage once they are bonded to their new family. But, due to their social nature, a pair is recommended if there is no one to interact with them throughout the day.

So two Sugar Gliders were now on their way home with us (with one year of food and the basic housing necessities). We were briefed on the very basics and given a CD with several audio lessons on initial care and set-up. We were also added to a members list for a website filled with instructions, videos and helpful tips. So we started our Sugar Glider 101 course load.

A week and a half later, I can honestly say that I am pleased with our additions. We have put in the time and effort to get them bonded and comfortable. This has led to a few minor breakthroughs. They are not nearly as skittish when we handle them and they respond to the sound of our voices. I am not sure they are grasping their names yet, but that will come. For now I am just enjoying the baby steps…and the feel of tiny feet on my bald head!

By tmhale13

No Bones About It

November 11, 2010

I am absolutely not racist. Anyone that knows me would attest to this. I understand that many people from across the globe come to America (legally even) for a chance at a better life. We are a nation that was founded on immigration. But I do have a few points to make about what I experienced today.

For lunch today, I wanted some Kentucky Fried Chicken. They have a really great boneless filet. So I hop in my car and hit the drive-thru. This is a KFC that I go to fairly regularly. I order the same thing every time. That order would be a two filet meal with fries and a biscuit. Not difficult…right? Obviously it is on the same difficulty scale as…oh…say…the time-space continuum.

As I complete my order, the talking box squelches back at me “Do you want dark or white meat?” in a very thick accent. So thick that I asked him to repeat it because I could barely understand. He repeats. I cock my head a little and say “Ummmm…there is no dark meat filet. I want the two filet meal”. I get a pause, then he asks me to hold please. I do. He comes back and asks “Do you want legs or thighs?”. Now I am a little miffed! I repeat my order, very slowly and deliberately. Crickets! More crickets! I can only assume that he has been incapacitated by flesh eating zombies (sorry, I have been watching “The Walking Dead” on AMC…zombies on the brain…pun intended!). He finally squawks back and says something that sounds like “We have one filet”. The time that has elapsed is probably only a minute or two. But cars have begun queueing up behind me. It feels like this is an episode of “Punk’d”. I say “two filets” and as he repeats his one filet answer, I am already darting off.

I park and go inside. I get to the counter, with a smile, and place the exact same order to another worker. He nods, pushes his magical register buttons and asks for my $7.16. There! No problem! Not quantum physics after all. I then inform him that his drive-thru attendant is unaware that a two piece filet meal exists. Either that or he does not have a solid grasp on the concept of boneless chicken parts! He apologizes and tells me that this guy is new. I immediately reply with the fact that he should not be working the customer service side if he can not communicate with said customers. Put him on the grill or something.

I take my food and rush home to watch “Planet Terror”(more zombies…I need an intervention!). I bite into my first juicy…boneless…filet and all is again right with the world. They may have spit in my food today, but that saliva may very well be part of the colonels secret recipe! Yummmm…

By tmhale13

Halloween Horror: A List By Me

October 26, 2010

With Halloween just around the corner, I have decided to make a list of the 10 movies that I consider “scary”. However, scary is a relative term. I believe that my selections incorporate many interpretations. There are the “jump out of your seat” scares, the “depravity of man” scares and the deeper…darker…”pure evil” scares. If you are a fan of fright at all, I suggest you see all of these films. I would be surprised if you haven’t seen most of them already. Enjoy…IF YOU DARE!

1.  The Exorcist – Ok, this is THE movie that really digs deep and really sticks with you. Demonic possession and the battle of faith touch a lot of nerves.

2.  The Omen – Much like The Exorcist, a demonic child is to blame for more than a few sleepless nights. Do not rely on the recent remake of this classic. Go right to the source. It is eerie on a whole other level.

3.  Seven – Ok, not a traditional horror movie. This one fits more in that “depravity of man” realm. There are not a lot of scares to be had. But the entire movie is just an exercise in dread. I walked out of the theater with knots in my stomach. The real horror is that all of these ideas were in someone’s head to begin with. And there is the fact that they do not show any scene of the actual violence, merely the seed of thought given to us by the crime scenes.

4.  Alien – Sci-Fi, schmi-fi. This is just a classic monster movie at heart. This could have been set underwater, in the jungle or in a Chuck E. Cheese. You do not have to enjoy Star Trek to get the full effect of this treasure.

5.  Event Horizon – Much like Alien, this movie gets lumped into Sci-Fi far too easily. Sure it takes place in space, but it is really a story about the decent into madness (a theme that really gives me the creeps…as you will see).

6.  The Descent – And on the note of descents… This movie has some creatures in it. But they are not the scariest element. The terror I get from this movie is purely claustrophobic. Not only are the players being pursued, they are being pursued in very tight spaces. Every time they enter a crevice, I lose my breath.

7.  Psycho – Madness is a frightening thing. Hitchcock introduced us to a madness like none we had ever seen. It still holds up on so many levels today. This movie has spawned, in some way, nearly every madman-on-the-loose film since.

8.  Halloween – Very fitting that I place it just after Psycho. This movie borrowed heavily from the Psycho theme and presented us with an even more terrifying killer. Where Norman Bates was simply dealing with those that entered his web, Michael Myers was on a seek-and-destroy mission. He could have been in any one of thousands of small towns.

9.  The Shining – My final look at the descent theme. Jack Nicholson gave us a glimpse of what could lie inside each of us. Put us in seclusion, add some stressful environmental factors and then sprinkle in some existing psychosis. That is a recipe for disaster. And disaster is exactly what befalls that mountain lodge.

10.  The Strangers – This movie had me looking over my shoulder for weeks. Every sound was a potential intruder. It didn’t help that I watched this while I was living in Virginia alone for six months. I had no one to tell me the noises were in my head, so I assumed it was a group of deranged sociopaths preparing to pounce.

BONUS: I thought I would throw in one good Horror/Comedy, but had a hard time deciding which of these two deserved the nod. So you get both.

Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland – Here are two hilarious send-ups of the classic zombie flick. Each is far more humorous than frightening. And that is fully intentional (unlike so many unintentionally funny horror movies…I am looking at you “Wrong Turn”!). I suggest watching these two back-to-back with Shaun first.


You will notice my omission of things like “Saw” and “Hostel”. These, to me anyway, are not scary. They can be shocking. They are certainly gross. And, they are usually disturbing. But they are rarely actually scary. They are not always bad movies. They have their appeal. But I would choose a maniacal serial killer, madman or zombie over a gross out or squirm-inducing torture 99% of the time.

By tmhale13

CD’s. Soon To Be Replaced…By Tumbleweeds

October 15, 2010

Today I was on somewhat of a mission. I had found a song that I was obsessed with. Usually, this is not much of a problem. I hear a song, I find that song on iTunes, I buy that song, I put that song on my iPod. This system works very well…most days. But not today. The song I want is not on iTunes. It is not on Amazon MP3 either. In fact, it is not on any of the download (legal ones anyway) that I have used before. It seems that Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways is much like the mythical Snipe. Many have heard of it, but no one ever catches one. This calls for drastic measures! I am going to have to buy an actual CD.

I had already decided I needed a trip to Best Buy. “How To Train Your Dragon” was being released on Blu-Ray today and I wanted to see it. Julia had taken the girls to see it in the theater while I was at work (you will notice I said AT work, not working…two very different things in my current situation). They all said it was great. So I had to see it. now I had two things to buy on this trip.

I find my movie very quickly in a big display just inside the door. Then I head to the back to find my CD. I know immediately that my task will not be simple. Behold the photos above. This is the entire CD section at Best Buy! Really! You have got to be kidding me! I know it has been a while since I have ventured into this section, but this seems ridiculous. Where is all the merchandise?

Now, I worked in Best Buy a mere 5-6 years ago. Back then, the shelves were well stocked. The Johnny Cash section alone probably had 30 plus CD’s to choose from. In today’s Best Buy, there are 3…THREE… Johnny Cash CD’s. And none of them are the one I am looking for. Of course not! That would have been too easy.

I head to the Wal-Mart across the street. To my dismay, it is an eerily similar sight. A very small CD section with roughly 5 Man-in-Black CD’s. Wow! This is something else. I am ready to hand over my money to anyone that will sell me this product. I am starting to sweat a little. Nothing makes me want something so much as not being able to get it…now! I dart to Sam’s Club. They have CD’s…right? Not the one I want! Aaaargggghhhhh! Target? No! I am out of options. I come home in defeat.

I get on Amazon and see that I can order the CD. It is $12.99 and shipping is $4.00. If I want it in 2-3 day, it will be $7.00 shipping. This is the only way? So be it. I have now spent $20 for a CD that I can not listen to until next week. I did however “acquire” the one song I know I want, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”, by an alternate (read as not really legal) method. But I am OK with that. I tried my best to do it the “right” way. And I did eventually buy the whole thing. So, I will say I took the high road. I better go answer the door. I think I hear the recording Industry lawyers pulling up now…

By tmhale13