Archive for April 2010
It’s all the rage to boycott Arizona for its legislature being stone xenophobes. Or boycott anything with Arizona in the name, like Arizona Iced Tea, which is made in New York. (However, I draw the line at no longer watching and quoting “Raising Arizona.” “I’ll take these Huggies, and all the cash you got in your drawer.” “Son, you got a panty on your head.”)
This rage for rage, all over the new state law that, and I’m paraphrasing, allows — nay, demands — for police to rustle up Latinos for pleasure (when I explained how police would be compelled to ask anyone “suspicious” of being illegal for “papers,” my 12-year-old son Godwinned it right away: “Like the Jews in Nazi Germany!”) is extending into the sports arena as well, specifically in athletic pontificators pontificating that major leagues should make sure to strip Arizona of any major events planned there, such as the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and not to plan any more.
Greg Esposito at the Phoenix fan site Fanster doesn’t like the idea of a boycott.
In [CBSSports.com columnist Mike] Freeman’s piece he says, if a person believes that sports leagues should stay out of politics than they live “on a unicorn ranch”.
I don’t live on a unicorn ranch, but I do live in Arizona, and I can’t change what some legislators decided was a good idea. Neither can the Fiesta Bowl, the Arizona Diamondbacks or any other professional sports team in this state. Boycotting games of teams and people who didn’t have anything directly to do with the law seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Believe it or not, Arizona is a lot like the rest of America, divided. For every person who sees the current immigration law as a good idea there is at least one who doesn’t. The only difference is, the state legislature doesn’t currently have that same balance.
Hey, stop trying to be reasonable here. We’re trying to make a point!
I hear what he’s saying, but unfortunately the only way to get Arizonans to consider changing the dim bulbs in their legislature is to take drastic action. And for sports, this can come at the youth level as well.
For example, if you’d like to really sock Arizona in the wallet, put pressure on U.S. Youth Soccer to yank the 2012 Far West Regionals out of the state. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game might bring the top players in baseball and high-rolling sponsors, but a soccer tournament brings scads of kids and free-spending soccer moms and dads. I bet the losing the soccer tournament would be a bigger hit.
I’m sure there are other multi-state youth sports events going on Arizona. So, travel parents, don’t send your kids, and put pressure on your organization to pull out. Make Arizona’s sports insides an economic rocky place where your seed will find no purchase.
Dammit, I’m sorry. I still can’t support a boycott of quoting “Raising Arizona.”
Experts on Ponzi schemes will tell you that the victims are often preyed upon by a trusted person in their inner circle, such as a church member, a neighbor, or someone with whom they share an ethnic tie. However, until now, I had never heard of that trusted person being your daughter’s high school softball coach.
Even for Ponzi scheme victims, these softball parents, if a recent lawsuit is to be believed, set new standards for being what Bugs Bunny would call gulli-bulls. If Louisville, Colo., Monarch High coach Richard Dale Mott had an $11 billion fortune and a mansion stocked with expensive cars, why the hell would he be coaching girls’ high school softball? For the investment contacts? To give back to the community? (Boy, if he said that last one, that REALLY should have been a tip-off.)
Technically, what Mott is accused of doing is loan fraud, because he allegedly didn’t even get far enough to “invest” proceeds anymore. But the dynamics are the same.
Randy Davenport, who was president of the Monarch Fastpitch Softball Club and whose daughter plays on the team, sued Richard Dale Mott after he said he was unable to recover $80,000 he loaned Mott to fund a supposed gypsum mining operation in Wyoming.
Davenport alleged in his suit that Mott, who resigned as coach from the Louisville high school in December, had promised him a $50,000 interest payment on the loan and had guaranteed the loan with a promissory note.
Mott also got loans from “numerous members of the Monarch High School parent community” that he never repaid, the suit states.
Davenport claimed that Mott, who was hired by the Boulder Valley School District in the summer of 2008, made off with $185,000 total from four or five investors, including himself.
“It’s an expensive lesson and one that I will be paying for,” Davenport said Thursday. “I want to see that guy suffer some kind of consequences for what he’s done.”
According to the Daily Camera story, Davenport said Mott told the parents he had set aside $25 million for each of his children. In reality, Mott lived in a rented house and was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and had settled numerous breach-of-contract cases in the past. (The newspaper called various Richard Motts, but it could not find the one in question.)
We can agree that Richard Mott, if he did what Davenport said he did, is a bad person. So is Bernard Madoff. So is Allen Stanford. And so is Nicholas Cosmo, who at least plowed some of the $375 million he apparently swindled out of suckers in his Ponzi scheme back into youth sports.
But jumpin’ Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, how greedy and/or dense do you have to be to hand $80,000 over to your daughter’s softball coach to invest in some bullshit you don’t understand, even if the coach is Charles Fuckin’ Schwab? Did the Monarch parents ever, oh, stop by his mansion to check it out? Do a Google search on Mott? Check the Forbes 500 to see if Mott’s name was in it? (At $11 billion, it would have been.) Get statements on the potential investment and run them by a financial adviser? Ask themselves why their daughters’ softball team was coached by a billionaire who needed to hustle parents for money? Find out what gypsum was?
Ponzi scheme experts will tell you that the scammers know what they’re doing, that their delivery is smooth, and that peer pressure can take over good judgment, especially if your friends are getting statements back about how fabulously their investments are doing. As the old saying goes: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. And, if your daughter’s softball coach approaches you with a hot investment, ask why, if the coach is so smart, he or she still can’t figure out how to teach players how to field a ground ball cleanly.
And if that isn’t enough to help you avoid investment scams, perhaps this video will help. Ahem, her face is up there.
Often, people complaining about the excesses of adults in youth sports hearken back to some halcyon days when children organized their own play. And how that play was fair to all, with everyone getting plenty of playing time, having lots of fun, and joining for laughs and good-natured noogies at the malt shop afterward.
Uh, no. Adults can be assholes, but children can be ruthless. And I can cite more than my own personally observed examples to prove that.
A survey by The Cricket Foundation and the Marlyebone Cricket Club (the self-proclaimed world’s most famous cricket club) found 54% of the approximately 1,000 eight- to 16-year-olds survey witnessed bad sportsmanship. Not once. But in every single game they play.
No surprise with anyone with one of these in the house, but 63% of 14-year-olds report bad sportsmanship every game, leading all ages.
Among examples of bad sportsmanship cited by those questioned were people pretending to be hurt, punching, kicking, and swearing. One child told researchers: “Boys in school playing rugby pulled a boy to the ground and stood on his knee so he couldn’t score a try.” Another spoke of “being hit by a team member in a hockey game at school in order for them to score.” And a third said: “A boy threw a snooker ball at the other boy he was playing against because the other boy was winning.”
I don’t care that this survey was from Great Britain. Plenty of other research has found that kids in the good ol’ U.S. of A. have been conniving little shits for years, and they’re getting more conniving over time.
But why? Maybe it isn’t all the kids’ fault. Maybe kids are ruthless BECAUSE they’re around adults who are assholes. Specifically, the assholes in their house. More from the Guardian:
Half of parents admit that it is their responsibility to deal with their child’s unfair play, while 28% said it was down to the coach.
So half of parents believe that it ISN’T their responsibility to deal with their child’s unfair play. And at least some of them thinks it’s someone’s responsibility to deal with it, even if it isn’t their own. What’s up with the 22% of parents who didn’t assign any responsibility whatsoever?
I don’t know if what the chicken-and-egg relationship is: whether kids are born little bad sports (a thought that’s occured to anyone with a 2-year-old) and their parents to unteach that behavior, or whether kids are born good and learn to be bad by watching their moral-relativist parents. Interestingly, the cricket survey found that 72% of kids thought unfair play was “cheating,” and only 4% thought pro athletes who cheated were “cool,” so even if some kids cheat, they at least feel a little guilty about it.
“Who taught you how to cheat like that?” “YOU, DAD! I LEARNED IT FROM YOU, OK!”
The studies that find more children getting more comfortable with more cheating than previous generations is that the growing population of little snots is coming from upper middle-class families, who use cheating and bad sportsmanship to give themselves (or, if it’s the parents, their kids), an advantage in getting on the team, into college, etc.
If that’s true, then the growth religion is not Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism or Zoroastriansim: it’s consequentialism, the fancy, philosophical way of saying, “The ends justify the means.”
You might not remember the name Terrence Philo Jr., but you might remember his story.
At his Pleasantville (N.J.) Middle School basketball team’s end-of-season banquet, Terrence’s coach invited him to come to the end-of-season banquet for a special moment. Then, in front of 25 teammates and parents, the coach gave Terrence an award: the “Crybaby Award,” complete with a trophy depicting a baby, and a nameplate misspelled “Terrance.”
The coach claimed it was supposed to be some sort of honor for Terrence’s play and vocal participation, but Terrence wasn’t in on the joke. The 13-year-old was so embarrassed, he refused to come back to school that Monday, and his father said Terrence didn’t even want to go outside. The bad-joke award got national attention, and the coach who issued it, 24-year-old James Guillen, was fired, though he kept his job as a special education teacher.
That was 2004.
Six years later, Terrence Philo Jr. is back in the news again. It would be nice to say that the traumatizing incident strengthened the honor student’s resolve to treat others well and put himself in a position to help others.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that.
From the Press of Atlantic City:
A Pleasantville teen who made national headlines six years ago for being awarded a “crybaby award” by his middle school basketball coach is accused of leading police on a chase – and now faces assault, gun and drug charges.
Police say an officer was injured while trying to arrest Terrence Philo Jr., 19.
Police told the newspaper that a Pleasantville officer saw someone, later identified as Philo, attempt to rob someone with a gun. The officer chased Philo as he sped away in a car, and the officer crashed his car into the back of Philo’s vehicle after Philo hit a parked car. He ran away, but another officer and a police dog tracked Philo down in a closet at a nearby home, where he was arrested. Police said they found a loaded .357 Magnum and crack cocaine in his car.
Without knowing what’s been going on with Philo over the last six years, it would be a real stretch to say that the “Crybaby Award” turned him from honor student into alleged criminal. Just like how you can’t say for sure that Michael Costin Jr. grew up to abuse drugs, alcohol, and his 23-years-his-senior girlfriend because his father was killed by another hockey dad in a notorious 2000 case.
However, it’s safe to say that, in each case: it didn’t help.
The words from a family therapist, spoken to USA Today in 2004, about the “Crybaby Award” incident sound haunting now:
“It’s an awful thing to have done to a teenager, just totally uncalled for,” said Michael Popkin, a family therapist and author based in Atlanta. “One of the harshest things you can do to a kid is to publicly humiliate them. It’s bad enough putting him down one on one, away from the team. To set him up like that and then cut his knees out in public is a huge blow.” …
Whether the boy suffers permanent harm from the humiliation depends on how strong he is emotionally and how much his friends, family and teammates support him, Popkin said.
By the way, Guillen is still teaching special education in Pleasantville. The Press did not appear to contact him (and I haven’t either). But one wonders what he thought when he heard of “Terrance” Philo Jr.’s arrest.