AJ's Monday Musings

On this Memorial Day version of the Musings I'd like to thank and congratulate, as a hint of negativity seems a bit inappropriate at this time.

Thank You

I would like to offer a sincere "thank you" to those men and women who sacrificed their lives for this great nation of ours.

If it weren't for their unselfishness, dedication and loyalty to our nation we would not enjoy life as we know it. Sports may have a place in our society, but a small one at best. And, sportswriters and sports talk hosts wouldn't be nearly as in demand as we are, which has provided me an opportunity to make a living doing something I love.

Imagine if North Carolina football and basketball were nothing more than intramural activities. Imagine if none of us had ever witnessed the genius of Dean Smith, Michael Jordan, Phil Ford, Antawn Jamison, "Choo Choo" Justice, Greg Ellis or Julius Peppers. Imagine if Carolina Blue was just baby blue or light blue. Imagine if a significant part of your wardrobe was missing Carolina hats, t-shirts, jerseys, et al. Imagine if the Dean Dome didn't exist and Kenan Stadium was a memory. Imagine if the ACC meant nothing to us. Imagine if you didn't have message boards to vent your dislike for coaches, players, and of course, sportswriters. Imagine what life would be like had these great men and women not given us the opportunity to live in a free society so we could take so much for granted, as so many of us do. In honor of them, I recommend we not be so historically reckless anymore. Lets make sure they didn't die in vain.

And to them I say, thank you.

AI Vs. Tillman

With so many prominent athletes speaking out lately about how they are misunderstood and that life in their shoes isn't all that it's cracked up to be, I'd like to offer them the aforementioned reminder. It would be great to see more athletes like the Arizona Cardinals' Pat Tillman, who recently passed up on a multi-million dollar deal to enlist in the Army with hope of becoming a Ranger.

While in one corner there is the out-of-touch Allen Iverson who says we don't understand him because his third-grader has to deal with classmates telling him his father might get traded. In the other corner we have Tillman, who contemplated this move since Sept. 11. Iverson makes $17 M a year. Tillman will now make about $32,000 a year.

One man doesn't get it while the other does.

One man will likely go all weekend without any thought to what Memorial Day really means while the other man will soon live it.

To Pat Tillman, I say thank you.

A Last Thank You

Few writers and talk show hosts provide e-mail addresses so that readers and listeners can e-mail them their thoughts, be in negative or positive. I feel this is important because it helps me understand what so many fans are thinking. While message boards serve this purpose to a degree, they also can improperly impact one's perception of the basic fan's mind set.

I have always made a point of responding to all e-mails, regardless of the content. Most of the mail I receive is positive, but there are at times those who feel a need to correct what they perceive as miscues (some rightfully so) or those who gain satisfaction by taking me to task. No matter the tone, I appreciate someone taking the time to send me a note. Their thoughts often either reinforce my point of view or teach me a thing or two!

So, I'd like to thank you, the readers of Inside Carolina for helping to make this magazine and web site a success. I wouldn't have my job if it weren't for you, so I am grateful for your patronage and hope I can continue to improve as a writer and analyst to provide you my best efforts on a regular basis.

To you I say thank you.

Andrew Jones is entering his seventh year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a drive-time radio show on ESPN Radio, WMFD AM630 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.

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