Thomas R. Lawrence
456 South 10th Street
Opelika, AL 36801
As I See It!™
Volume 3, Number 1
In This Issue:
Welcome from Tom
The Bowl Season
As I Like it!TM
New Orleans Redux
Velma and Annie
CHRISTMAS IN A RAILROAD TOWN
The Holiday Season is in full swing and all of our stockings are hung by the chimney with care. In Opelika, the historic district has each front porch decorated with a holiday theme and we have celebrated Christmas in a Railroad Town, our annual downtown block party. One of the advantages of small town living is that more emphasis is placed on the spiritual aspects of the season as opposed to the commercial. We have performances of holiday music in a variety of public and church settings and there are Christmas pageants almost every evening. Opelika, like many small southern towns, still celebrates the reason for the season.
Those of us at Capital Consultants and Front Porch Press hope that each of you had a joyful 2011 and we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
THE BOWL SEASON
The regular football season for 2011 has come to a close and fans are turning their attention to the upcoming bowl games, the annual festival of coaching changes and most importantly, recruiting. There is only one bowl game that makes any difference and that will be the BCS championship game between LSU and Alabama in January. All of the rest are of no importance comparatively and of little interest to anyone who did not attend one of the “also ran’s” that will be playing.
There are too many bowl games to start with and allowing six win teams to play in the post season sets the bar so low that it rewards mediocrity and encourages patsy scheduling. The only value of participating in a bowl is the two to four weeks of extra practice and a chance for the student athletes to broaden their education by spending a few days in Shreveport or Nashville. If a team really gets lucky, they can go to Detroit on a nice winter’s day.
The carousel of coaching changes is twirling in earnest. Coaches who mange to eke out a winning season at some obscure Conference Who Dat? Institution where they made a mere couple of hundred thousand per year find themselves to be a hot property and end up as a major college coach making more than a million per year. And to think that we used to laugh at Phys Ed majors.
This annual spectacle reminds me of the old joke about the German Prisoner of War camp where the Commandant announced that each prisoner would be receiving a change of underwear. He then instructed the inmates: “You change with you and you change with him.” Most of the geniuses that are being hired today will hold press conferences assuring the faithful that there is no reason that a National Championship can’t come home to Ever Hopeful U. Three years from now, most of them will be leaving behind the Mayflower van. The good news is the van will be filled with the proceeds of their contract buy-out and headed to a golfing community in some sunnier climate.
This brings us to recruiting, something that really matters and can make or break a program. At this point in the process, every school is enjoying a potential top ten recruiting class. The recruiting services rate and the talking heads pontificate. Coaches and athletic directors sing the praises of commitments from nothing but five star linemen that are 7’9″, weigh 385 lbs. and run the dashes in track. When one of these wonder boys changes his mind about his “commitment” and announces that he will be attending a cross state rival instead, it is suddenly discovered that he is really dumb as dirt , has a congenital heart defect and will probably end up in jail. Amazing how changing his mind reduces his ability.
The bottom line is that most of the five star players are going to end up at LSU, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida State. The rest of us have to hope that some kid that is 6’2″ and 210 lbs. will grow about 40% over the next couple of years and prove to have the heart of a real competitor. Les and Nick can’t afford to take a chance on a kid like this and occasionally someone slips through their net. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and so it goes year after year.
As I Like it! ™
NEW ORLEANS REDUX
I made a holiday pilgrimage to the Crescent City recently and had an opportunity to enjoy the usual caloric over-indulgence. Not only did I partake of the city’s culinary delights, but I also took the time to absorb the ambiance of a resurgent Big Easy. Click here if you would like to hear about the food and culture I found in America’s most European city.
VELMA & ANNIE
If you find yourself getting deeper and deeper into a state of despair when you consider the sad state of our poor beleaguered Republic and you can’t for the life of you fathom why the average American would rather collect welfare rather than get a job, then the story of Velma and Annie might cheer you up. Click herefor their story.
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