Publisher's Blog - 1/18/2006

I've always been reluctant to write a Publisher's blog for the site. Part of me felt that it would be egoistical to do so and that has never been my style. I always found the word "blog" peculiar. It sounds like something that Captain Kirk would have said on Star Trek. "Captain's blog - Stardate 69047..." But, from time to time I may write a blog where we speak out on some of the issues facing the world of college sports today.

Many days I see harsh criticism on public message boards concerning student-athletes. This troubles me. Do people consider the impact of their words or who may be reading their words before they hit that enter key? Would they want people criticizing their own children on public message boards?

Our society puts athletes on a pedestal and somehow expects them to be perfect. When they turn out to be merely human or less than perfect, people tear them down. They forget that most student-athletes are still 17 and 18 year old kids. They are not necessarily bad kids but, good kids who make mistakes or errors in judgment. Those of us who are parents have the same issues with our own children. They aren't bad children, but children who don't always do the right thing.

Who among us never made a mistake when they were 17 or 18 years old? I know I sure made my share of errors in judgment at that age. How many of us went to class every day when we were in high school or college? Not many I'm sure. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

Student-athletes are held to a much higher standard and are expected to be perfect. They are in the spotlight all of the time. It can't be easy.

To add to this, many young athletes come from families that can be considered dysfunctional. They lack the support structure of a mother and father. Without that structure and guidance, these young athletes are susceptible to adults who don't always have the athlete's best interests at heart. They receive bad advice or get a skewed vision of their importance in the world. They need to learn to listen to those that truly care about them and not those that have an agenda. But they are unable to tell the difference. There will always be those adults that prey on young student-athletes, especially those that are lacking that support structure at home. We see it all the time.

These are all things that coaches have to deal with in our society. They try to build and motivate young people into responsible members of society and to succeed not as individuals, but as members of a team. While they are doing this, there are others whispering in the youngster's ear telling them that the coach doesn't know best and to look out for their own selfish interests. We see it all the time.

Just some food for thought.

Now on to DePaul basketball, which is what brings everyone to this online community. The second half of the Marquette game on Tuesday was certainly something that I feel can be used to build upon going forward into the remainder of the Big East schedule. The team needs to gain confidence to have a chance at success. Remember, it is only mid-January and this continues to be a work in progress. The fanbase needs to show some patience with a first year coach and a team whose youth and inexperience shows. Guess you can put me among the "give it time" mantra crowd. Good things can come to those that wait.

I'm probably going to sound like the eternal optimist. Perhaps the last remaining one. Why not use that second half of that game to build on for the remaining games? People probably think I'm crazy, but winning four of the next five games in the Big East is not out of the question with the right amount of confidence. Aah, the power of positive thinking.

That's all for now. As Captain Kirk said... "Beam me up, there is no intelligent life down here."

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