NCAA, NFL & NBA: Season of Thanks

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Initially the news hit like a ton of bricks, Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was retiring…what???  Only to be followed by the newsflash that he was handing over the reins of our storied program to then Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley….and a sense of calm soon replaced confusion and astonishment.

Since he walked onto Norman’s campus, I have believed in Lincoln’s play calling.  Conservatism is for politics, there’s zero place for it on the gridiron.  Execution relies on the players but the go ahead to be BOLD comes from the top.  His rookie year has sealed my belief in him….in this season of thanks---he leads the list of things for which I am thankful!

I’m also thankful that like chivalry, displaying class is not dead.  Giants qb Eli Manning opting out of window dressing his individual record of consecutive games played and taking a backseat to whatever strategic plan the coaching staff has developed…..put into action what it means to take the high road.  We’ve watched the Giants implode….due in large part to one season ending injury after the other….before our very eyes.  It is difficult to assess which is more uncomfortable to watch…what’s taking place on the field or the mismanagement off the field?   Make no mistake, the thought of Eli taking a quick jaunt…roughly 939 miles south on I-95….to the sunshine state in general & Jacksonville, in particular, would be a remedy for these sore eyes!

I’m thankful when an entire story is told.  Throughout the season analysts inform of Alabama’s greatness.  Duly noted.  Yet strength of schedule seldom wanders into the conversation. Recent data has them ranked 42nd!  Programs don’t have control over the strength of their conference….it ebbs & flows…but they most definitely have control over out of conference games. The late cupcake phenomena is nothing new to Bama….Mercer, Western Carolina & Charleston Southern have found themselves with late autumn games in Tuscaloosa.  Bama has a particular penchant for rolling tide over the Chattanooga Mocs…week 11 opponents in 2013 & 2016.  If it weren’t for the emergence of a committee charged with the responsibility of factoring in schedule strength….the revelation the emperor may sometimes be partially dressed may not have become a “thing” at all.

Ahhh, the mouths of babes: my son recently expressed concern as to what to do once LeBron James retires.  This is not a deep dive into who is the greatest…obviously #23 of the burgundy & gold snags that title. However…if they are honest…even card carrying cult members of Jordan’s fan club will acknowledge we are witnessing LeBron single handedly make “spectacular” a verb!   I am certain I have not seen greatness like THIS…in THIS stage of any athlete’s career.  Yep, Father Time is undefeated….but to see LeBron give him a run for his money is more than worth watching.  For that, I’m thankful! 

If the evening news wasn’t already bothersome….the avalanche of harassment allegations against women in the workplace….coming from seemingly every nook and cranny of society…doesn’t appear to have an end in sight. Perhaps it is why I seized the opportunity to see the NCAA defending champions South Carolina Lady Gamecocks vs Maryland’s Lady Terps. The strength, intelligence and determination of the players and head coaches was on full display.   It was awesome to look throughout the stands and see smiling girls of all ages…thoroughly enjoying the festivities.  It is nice to know that in the midst of foolery…there are places for young girls to witness Girl Power up close & personal.  For that, I’m thankful!!  

 

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