Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life Lessons from San Diego Sports

There are certain truisms about life you can discover by being a San Diego sports fan.

There is so an 'I' in 'Team'
At the start of the season the San Diego Chargers football team was one of the favorites to go to the Super Bowl. They are currently more pathetic than their 4-6 record shows all because they lost just two players.
Linebacker Shawne Merriman is out for the season with knee injury. With him the Chargers had the most fearsome pass rush in football. Without him the Chargers have gone entire games without laying a finger on the opposing quarterback. Literally. No sacks, no hits, no hurries. Forget intimidating a quarterback, defenders aren't getting close enough to muss his hair. Also, when Merriman played opposing tight ends had to stay on the line and try to help block him. Without Merriman tight ends are roaming freely in the Charger secondary. Even no-talent bums are looking like Kellen Winslow (senior, the good one).
Lorenzo Neal (#41 at left) is a fullback. He seldom touches a football. His job is to block. Throughout LaDainian Tomlinson's incredible career Neal has been in front of him making holes. Until this year. The Chargers let Neal get away and replaced him with a rookie who is more often getting in the way than getting the block. As a result, Tomlinson is having his worst year of his career.

The Sanctity of Marriage is Important
No, not that one-man, one-woman silliness. I'm talking about the "what God has joined together let no man put asunder" part. The owner of the San Diego Padres, John Moores, is getting a messy divorce and the only child to be tormented by it is the baseball team. You see, Moores is trying to depress the value of the team before the divorce property settlement.
In the 40-year history of the San Diego Padres Trevor Hoffman is second only to the great Tony Gwynn in both longevity and the love of the fans. While he is past his prime the love has not diminished. This post season the Padres have cut Trevor loose for, well, nothing at all. And they did it with a rude slap to his face.

To make matters worse, the Padres are trying to trade another fan favorite, Khalil Greene, and their only legitimate star, Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy. The Padres aren't asking for much, just a few cheap rookies. The fly in this ointment is that Peavy has a guaranteed contract with a no-trade clause and he kind of likes living in San Diego.

A Quality Education is Only Important for the Sports
San Diego State has a rotten football team. They have for years. They are 2-10 this season and were lucky to be that good. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is horrible the San Diego State Aztecs are somewhere in negative numbers. SDSU President Stephen Weber is proposing to hike student fees to $350 annually to fund the athletic program. To put this in perspective, the student fee in 2004 was $30, that is a 1167% increase in just four years.

It is not like the college is begging for this. In 2004 Weber had to overturn a student body referendum that had rejected a fee increase from $30 to $190. This year he isn't bothering with a vote and will impose another fee increase with token consultation. In addition, Weber has thrown millions of dollars in discretionary funds at the sports program. Money that could have been spent on, gee I don't know, like education.

As an academic institution San Diego State is stagnant in large part because the football program is a financial Black Hole. If you don't know what a Black Hole is maybe its because you got a degree in physics at San Diego State.

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