Thursday, April 28, 2011

Slim Jim

I must confess that I was a bit surprised when the e-mail from the New Jersey Marathon Race Director popped up in my in-box on Monday afternoon.  Its arrival was not surprising in and of itself as those of us foolish enough to sign up for this undertaking have received a regular stream of them from the Director over the course of the past several months.  The surprise was its content. 

Participants were advised to arrive on site for the race, which has a scheduled 8:00 a.m. starting time, by not later than 6:00 a.m. and were informed that parking near the Start/Finish Line would only be accessible up to 6:00 a.m. What is the effect of that?  For you, nothing.  For Gidg and me it means heading out of 'Squan (Margaret and I are heading south Saturday night) by 4:30 or 4:45.  I get up at 3:00 a.m. or thereabouts every day.  That part is routine.  The wrinkle in the routine will be getting up at that absurd hour and then running 26.2 miles.  Perhaps the theory is that we will be too tired to know what we are doing and it will be the 17 mile mark or so before our brain is completely awake.  By that time, we will be 75% of the way home or so and we can just motor on home from there. 

As the immortal American philosopher Lawrence Peter Berra once observed, when you start your Marathon Day at 3:00 a.m. or so, "It gets late early."  If the news out of Columbus, Ohio turns out to be as bad as reported in some corners, Yogi's words of wisdom will be apropos there as well.  A couple of months ago, the head football coach at THE Ohio State University, which might be the single most inane use of an article in the English language, essentially agreed to a five-game suspension to start the 2011 season (the school intended to suspend him for two) arising out of the actions several of his players had engaged in, including selling memorabilia.  His mea culpa seemed sincere at the time he uttered it and in some circles he was lauded for agreeing to (perhaps even insisting upon) getting a suspension equal to the suspension his offending players received. 

Just the other day, the good folks in Columbus, Ohio received a bit of mail from the good folks at the NCAA.  It was the type of mail no college ever wants to receive.  The NCAA served TOSU with a "Notice of Allegations".  Among the more damning allegations are those accusing the 10-year coach of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the field who had accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.  The NCAA informed the school that it considers the allegations it has made against the coach to be "potential major violations".  Considering that the NCAA is the organization that has the final say as to what constitutes a violation of its rules, one might presume that its characterization of these as they relate to Mr. Tressel is not the best news that the old ball coach has received recently.

To their credit, no audible snickering or gloating was heard emanating from either Boise, Idaho or Fort Worth, Texas.  Given that it was only a few short months ago that the President of TOSU, E. Gordon Gee (a/k/a "EGG") belittled both of those institutions, their student-athletes and the student-athletes of each and every other institution against whom both Boise State and TCU compete in football in the utterance of a single sentence, the opporunity presented itself for a well-placed kick to a nemesis who - if not fallen - is at the very least a bit woozy.  Neither school availed itself of the opportunity.  Good for them.  It is not always easy to be the better man. 

As the song teaches us, "You don't spit into the wind."  A lesson being taught these days in Columbus, Ohio on THE campus of THE Ohio State University.  Whether anyone learns it remains to be seen.

-AK

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