The Kinder Garden - Bug Edition

Although college sports are my favorite, there are some things that really bug me about them. Most, of course, are ancillary to the action on the field or court.

If I had to classify them, the number one irritant group would be silly and unthinking comments. Like buzzing mosquitoes, these statements swirl almost constantly.

There have been a number of good examples recently. First, Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer said he wished WVU and the Big East well as Virginia Tech bails out on the conference and the school that went to bat for Tech to get them into the Big East in the first place.

I could cut the insincerity with a knife. Frank, you and your school got what you wanted. Your school played a two-faced game of deceit, and won. Congratulations. But be honest about it. If, as you say, Virginia Tech had to serve the interests of Tech, then why are you concerned about other schools? I'd respect a Gordon Gekko-like gloat session more than I would this kind of hogwash.

Another was Boston College football coach Tom O'Brien's concern that his team might come out on the short end of the stick in the officiating game after they announced their intention to join the ACC. Excuse me while I grab a crying towel. Didn't your school just renege on statements that they would work to make the Big East stronger than ever?

On second thought, Boston College's departure will make the Big East stronger from a moral and ethical standpoint, at least.

Where's the can of Raid when you need it?

Almost as annoying are carefully crafted press releases and prepared statements that either don't say anything at all, or worse, create clouds of uncertainty, which was probably the intent of the statement in the first place.

Boston College provided another perfect example (seems they have a theme going in this department) when BC spokesman Jack Dunn made the following statement concerning the Big East's lawsuit against his less than forthright school.

"Some observers suggest this complaint stems from political agendas and ambitions in the state of Connecticut. In any event, Boston College will vigorously defend itself and its employees against these claims."

Notice that Dunn and BC don't even have the courage to say "We think this complaint..." They say, "Some observers suggest..."

How much more weaselly can you get? BC also doesn't deny the charges - they simply say they will vigorously defend themselves. Just like the executives at Enron.

Set some bug traps!

In a similar vein, dumb questions bother me. Especially when they take up valuable interview time. Or worse, questions that aren't questions at all, but rather a statement. "Talk about the game, coach," or "The running game was really working well today." Well, yeah, but what's your question?

Now, by no means am I a Pulitzer prize winning journalist. But, I do know how to form an interrogative, and state it as such. Didn't some of these guys go to journalism school?

An offshoot of that is misinterpretation of actions, and reports that further the misconceptions. For instance, a number of media outlets reported that the Big East's suit against the ACC was thrown out and effectively over. In fact, the portion of the suit involving the ACC was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, with the judge ruling that the ACC didn't do enough business in Connecticut to justify a suit there. The suit was almost immediately refiled against ACC officials personally, which aren't covered by such rules. The suit was not thrown out for lack of merit. It was dismissed because the judge ruled it was filed in an improper venue. There's a big difference there, at least as I understand it.

Call Orkin!

Finally, I'm really getting tired of "fans" who run onto the field to confront opposing players and coaches, then whine, cry, or, worse yet, sue when they get their clocks cleaned. The latest incident happened after the Nebraska-Missouri game, when a ding-dong confronted a Nebraska reserve defender and was decked for his trouble. The "fan", and I use that word very loosely, whined that the Nebraska player should receive some punishment.

While I don't mind fans running on the field to celebrate, they certainly should not confront other players. Aside from the questionable intelligence involved in taunting someone who is wearing body armor and isn't afraid of physical activity, fans should show a bit more restraint. And if they don't, they should take their lumps as a lesson.

All that reminds me of former WVU reserve Keith Taparausky, who decked a drunken Maryland fan that ran onto the field at College Park during a WVU game. Or of former Baltimore Colts linebacker Mike Curtis, who responded to a fan's running on the field by kicking him square in the behind. Several times.

Those incidents made me a Taparausky fan, and a Curtis fan, for life. Just call them two of my favorite insecticides.

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