Saturday, December 31, 2005

40-3 Peach Bowl Loss, 4 Simple Steps to Fix UM's Problems

I’ll start out with the warning that this will be a long rant, so be prepared. As you guys have surely seen the Canes lost 40-3 to LSU last night. Now yes this bothers me, however what bothers me more is erosion of the UM mystique that has occurred under Larry Coker. After the game there was a fight that left 2 Hurricanes unconscious after being hit by a swinging helmet (this story was on, not the sports site but the NEWS site CNN.Com, so we looked pathetic to the whole world including non-sports fans). This is not the UM that we have all come to know and love. A real UM team wins the game and the fight after, even in a down year we at least win the post game fight. So in this post I’ll outline the problem and what’s got to be done to reestablish the UM mystique that is so sorely lacking.

You might be wondering “what about all the work that the University has done to improve the team’s image and distance itself from that mystique?” Well sure, that has paid off in some respects. UM has an incredibly high graduation rate by any standard and it’s especially high when one considers the graduation rates of other schools that are football powerhouses like UM. Also off the field incidents by Hurricanes are among the lowest in the nation, this is especially clear when compared to other Florida schools that have no shortage of incidents at any given time. All of this is wonderful stuff, but unfortunately it really doesn’t matter because the rest of the country wants to hold on to the idea of the UM bad boy teams of the 80’s and early 90’s. Every time there’s even a small problem it is magnified and people moan and groan about the “thugs” down in Coral Gables (yes, those “thugs” mentioned above with an 80% graduation rate1 and very few off the field issues). Why does this happen? It’s simple, people watch the Hurricanes because they either love us or they hate us, even now that our program is as clean as any other in the nation. The Hurricanes are a cash cow to the networks who can promote a classic Good v. Evil match up in any game we’re in by keeping us the villains.

Case in point was the rap song that got leaked out earlier this season. Three years ago a few guys on the team got together and made a (horrible) rap that was as disrespectful to women as just about any other rap song playing in a club on South Beach. The song got out and suddenly people were outraged at the misogynistic UM players (which could be true) but the media and fans paid much less attention to the fact that our opponent that week had a player who was ordered by a judge to play despite facing felony drug charges . A bad rap song or felony drug charges, which program is out of control?

One more short example is our recruiting Willie Williams, a player who had some problems with the law. Sure, he had problems but once again this was treated as though we had just signed Charles Manson to play middle linebacker. In reality it was the first time in over a decade that we had signed a player with such a troubled past and Williams is a guy who got good grades and test scores (for a world class athlete). So of course we give one special case guy a chance and we’re back to being thugs in the eyes of the majority of fans and the media.

Now, what do we do about this you ask? I say play into it. Turn to the dark side. Turn heel (in wrestling terminology). Let’s face it, UM will only be seen as thugs from now until eternity so if we tap into that image maybe the players can acquire some of the swagger that led to a 56 game home winning streak and 4 of the school’s 5 National Titles. I’m not saying that we encourage players to commit crimes or that the school have a financial benefits program like it did in the past, but there are some simple steps to take that will reinforce the image that will always be the face of UM football.

1. Give Sebastian back his cob pipe.
In the 90’s UM thought a smoking mascot sent the wrong message, I think it’s time that the school reconsider. Nothing says dominance like a school who’s mascot may or may not be smoking an illegal substance.

2. Let Luther Campbell back on the sideline.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s rap star and First Amendment pioneer Luther Campbell roamed free on the UM sideline and funded the afore mentioned financial aid program by paying players $100 per sack and $200 for an INT returned for a touchdown. I say put him back on the sidelines as a decoy and police him to ensure no money is changing hands. Think about it, if you played quarterback for the other team wouldn’t you feel less comfortable having to wonder if the Cane’s D-line saw you as a money tree waiting to be picked?

3. Let Trick Daddy on the sineline.
In the 80’s and 90’s we only had one rap star on our sideline, now we can have two. Miami rapper Trick Daddy is such a Canes diehard that he even goes to the Women’s basketball games. I think loyalty like that should be rewarded. It would also allow Luther to eventually pass the torch to the next generation of UM rap star sideline mascots.

4. Get involvement from more former hurricanes.
Former Canes and Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin is a regular around the team, but we need more like him. Luckily our options are nearly endless. I have a short list of former Canes with which I’d start a mentoring program with all incoming freshmen. For starters I’d enlist “Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, Cortez Kennedy and the Rock, who in '92 chased the San Diego State mascot into the stands, screaming, "I'll kill you," back when he was a defensive lineman who went by the name Dwayne Johnson.“2

These suggestions are just a start, but I think they’re a start in the right direction. There are times in life when a person, or a school’s football team as the case may be, must look at themselves honestly and see what it is that they truly are. No matter what UM does it will always be the villain to most of America, so I say we start playing and acting like it.
Works Cited

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Here's a lawsuit to follow DDP v. Jay-Z

Former professional wrester Diamond Dallas Page is suing rap superstar Jay-Z over his use of the hand sign shown in the pictures above. This lawsuit has everything I need to be interested, rap, intellectual property issues that don't involve scientific patents, wrestling, commerce, you name it this case has it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Finally D-Wade Gets Some of the Love He Deserves

Some of you know that back in Dwayne Wade's rookie year I started the Committee to Give Dwayne Wade the Love He Deserves. I did this because I felt his talent was being overlooked by people fighting their way to worship at the feet of (the CLEARLY INFERIOR) Carmelo Anthony and (the equivalent) Lebron James. Now it looks like the the Committee has reached a major milestone as Dwayne's jersey is now the #1 selling NBA jersey. However our mission is not complete as D-Wade is not yet the leading vote getter in All-Star balloting. Do your part and click here to vote for D-Wade for the All-Star Game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Rocky VI

Rocky 6 is now in production, apparently on this site the crew will talk about the film as they film it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Happy Al Samons Birthday.

Continuing the birthday onslaught today we have a celebration of particular importance today because it is the birthday of my very own father Alvis Samons. Most of you reading this already know of the numerous reasons why I (and you) love this man like we do, so an extended biography is not really needed. So, Happy Birthday to the dachshund caretaking, entrepreneuring, car fixing, intelligent, and funny legend who happens to be my father.
(sorry if you don’t like the picture, it’s the only one of you on my hard drive)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Happy Kurt Angle's Birthday

Today we continue our December birthday-paloza with my favorite wrestler (tied for 1st with two other guys) Kurt Angle. A little history for those who aren't familiar with Kurt:
1. He's very proud of being from my current place of residence Pittsburgh, PA.
2. He won the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal in wrestling…with a broken neck*.
3. On his website he's politicing to serve as the next Chairman on the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness.
4. Like myself he is bald.
5. Like myself he is prone to exhibit kitschy patriotic tendencies.
6. His character, like myself, preaches the importance of “the 3 I’s” which are Intensity, Intelligence, and Integrity.
7. For more Check out his Wikipedia biography.
*The injury was officialy two fractured cervical vertebrae in his neck

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Larry Bird's Birthday.

December contains the birthday's of many important people in my life. Today I will kick off the near month long celebration by wishing all of you and especially Larry a happy Larry Bird's Birthday. (And also take a couple moments out of the celebration of Larry to remember Pearl Harbor too).