November 27, 2006

Okay, I've Made Up My Mind

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned the debut column by Jemele Hill of ESPN. I gave the column the panning it deserved, adding this caveat: "Maybe I'm being unfair to Jemele. Maybe the self-interview was just a gimmick that backfired, and she's really a good writer who had a bad debut."

So I saw her latest column... and yeah, I was pretty much right on target. This time, as a public service, Ms. Hill attempts to define the rules of engagement between athletes and groupies. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm not sure whether she is pro-groupie or anti-groupie, but this column is so poorly written that it doesn't really matter. She veers from first-person to second-person to third-person seemingly at random, and in her list of "rules", she can't seem to decide if "you" is the athlete, the groupie, or neither.

And better yet, there are a select handful of lines that make no sense whatsoever, such as, "It's a temporary takeover, not a merger. Think of Groupie Nation as an oppressed country that you want to occupy, but not govern." The whole column seems as though it was written by one of those homeless people who hangs out in Farragut Square and screams at the pigeons.

Then again, I suppose I should have expected this from a woman who complained about being misunderstood in her first column. I guess she was just trying to warn us.

UPDATE: Somehow, I managed to miss last week's "effort" by Ms. Hill. In this column, she uses the rumor that Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo might take over as coach of the football team as a springboard to a stunningly formulaic column, suggesting other potential basketball-football crossovers.

As if this wasn't bad enough, she attempts to provide a "rationale" justifying the crossover. To wit:

Not to oversimplify what football coaches do, but their success or failure hinges on concepts that aren't foreign to any coach. They must be able to evaluate talent – both for their coaching staff and their team. So conceivably, couldn't a basketball coach recognize 4.2 speed just as easily as a football coach? And likewise, wouldn't a football coach be able to decipher that Greg Oden will be one of the most skilled big men to play college basketball in years?

Rocket science, this stuff ain't. The game is so high-tech, with coaches having so many assistants, analysts and even a chart that tells them when to attempt a two-point conversion, how much thinking can you say a head football coach does anymore?

In other words, crossing over from basketball to football, or vice versa, would work because coaching isn't very hard. And about Greg Oden: Since Oden's name has been in every major sports-media outlet for at least the last two years, anybody who isn't living in a shack in Wyoming with no electricity could "know" that Oden is going to be great.

Another Jemelian gem:

Are Pete Carroll's blitz packages and offensive schemes any more complicated at USC than they were when he coached the New England Patriots? No. The difference is his rah-rah, laid-back demeanor wasn't working with NFL players, but it registers big with the iPod generation he coaches now.

Can someone explain to me how it's possible to be "rah-rah" and "laid back" at the same time?

Jemele's crossover candidates are largely an uninspired list, a series of obvious and lame gags that, say, Jim Caple could just as easily have produced. But a few choices stand out as uniquely Jemele:

Mike Krzyzewski: You know the résumé. He graduated from West Point and was an Army officer for five years. Coach K wouldn't do any worse than the other coaches Duke football has had over the years.

Yes, because the largely pathetic records of Duke football teams over the last 40 years have nothing to do whatsoever with the fact that Duke is not a football school and has had few quality players. Nope, it's all coaching. You bet.

Pat Summitt: Not only does she possess the glare of death, but few coaches maximize a player's talent the way she does. Bet if she stared down Eli Manning, he would get his act together.

Because Eli Manning's current coach, Tom Coughlin, is a noted soft touch and has surely never stared down Manning. Never. Uh huh.

Mark Cuban: He may not be a coach (sideline antics notwithstanding), but he would bring Daniel Snyder money paired with common sense.

Wait... common sense? Are we thinking of the same Mark Cuban? The one who owns the Dallas Mavericks? The one who once charged onto the court to scream at a referee? The one who shouted at David Stern after a playoff game, "F*** you! F*** you! Your league is rigged!"? The one who has repeatedly posts on his blog to complain that the officials have a vendetta against his team? That Mark Cuban? Common sense>?!

Also, I'm not sure why Jemele bothered to include a crossover owner, since I don't know anyone who believes that owning a football team and a basketball team require different skill sets. But, you know, Jemele is beyond logic anyway, so what does it matter?

Hope you're getting your $400,000 worth, ESPN!

Posted by Mediocre Fred at November 27, 2006 10:37 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: Rob at December 4, 2006 06:31 PM

Hi there.


Posted by: louise at July 12, 2007 12:02 AM
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