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TOYS AND GAMES: College Sports Rant, Gooden, Saban, and The Olympics

Time for my annual bitch fest about college sports.

First, I’m not against athletes receiving a stipend. They do spend a lot of time practicing, training and playing games, which keeps them from living the life of a normal student. However, I do believe that for most, paid tuition is adequate payment for that time and work. And I have trouble with those who are college superstars not getting a piece of the pie whether it’s from commercials or whatever — just as long as the school that’s has given them a scholarship isn’t the one paying for the revenue stream.

I also believe that “college” athletes should have to make the grades. That’s my lone prerequisite for the pay for pay, etc. However, I don’t believe we’re going to see anything resembling academics in the upper tier teams any time in the near future.

I watched with great interest the “30 for 30” featuring Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Dwight, dating back to when he was 18 and knocking on the door to become a phenom for the Mets. Ironically, I ran into him shortly thereafter at Tropicana Field. We caught up for a few minutes and even had a picture snapped of us (we looked considerably older than the picture of us the first time we met).

Happy about the meeting, I posted the picture on Facebook, only to have someone post: “Druggie, Druggie, Druggie.”

While the insensitive comment disappointed me, I felt better after I saw many of the comments expressing what I felt. Yes, Dwight has experienced many problems, which are well documented, but he remains one of my favorites.

How about this one from Charles Barkley–an Auburn guy, talking about Alabama football coach Nick Saban: “I think you’re an amazing coach. If you could fix my golf game, I’d put a statue of you at my house.”

For those of you who haven’t seen Barkley’s swing, it’s worse that mine.

Finally, a great line from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald, who observed all of the athletes backing out from participating in the Rio Olympics and wrote: “It’s starting to feel like a Pro Bowl with mosquitoes.”

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography