Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Quite The End Of The World As We Know It

We have reached the work week's end in the week that was, which places those of here on the East Coast squarely in the path of one really angry woman. That is a story for another day.

The big weather news thus far this week? Easy. Dueling earthquakes in the United States and neither of them with mail delivery at a California address. Monday Night's Rocky Mountain Rumble was answered on the East Coast by the Tuesday Afternoon Shake, Rattle and Roll that reached all the way from Washington DC to New England.

The building that houses the Firm shook for several seconds. I witnessed it with my own eyes from behind my desk. When I first saw what I saw I thought perhaps that a "magic mushroom" from a certain Halloween party oh so many Halloweens ago had somehow survived. However when other people came out of their offices and towards mine commenting upon what they too had just seen and felt I knew it was merely something seismic and NOT psychedelic. The fact that Tuesday was a false alarm does not vitiate the rule: When Tim Bauer appears at your apartment door dressed as a sheep, do NOT let him in.

Perhaps it was the uptick in seismic activity and the sudden significance of the Richter Scale (although not as significant as it was on this day) but it seemed as if Tuesday spawned a lot of interesting, "not seen 'round here everyday" news.

Jered Weaver is a professional baseball player. He pitches for the Angels, who used to be the California Angels before becoming the Anaheim Angels on their way to becoming....I must confess that I have lost track of what exactly the franchise calls itself these days. I know that everytime I hear it I think of the Westminster Kennel Club show and its competitors with their absurdly long names. Regardless of the proper name of his team, Jered Weaver is an outstanding pitcher for them. He was in fact the starting pitcher in this season's All-Star Game for the American League. His contract was not set to expire until next season at which time it was expected that Weaver would hit free agency with a vengeance (he is repped after all by Scott Boras who has never seen a fence without greener grass on the other side of it) and that the Angels would be forced to say goodbye to him.

Nope. On Tuesday Weaver, much to the chagrin of Mr. Boras and I am sure countless of his peers in the MLBPA signed a five-year extension with the Angels. Proving the Monopoly-like quality of the dollars paid to professional athletes in this country at least, Weaver extended his deal with the Angels at the "hometown discount" rate of $17 Million per season. The truth of the matter is that presuming he remained healthy Weaver could have earned an even fatter payday on the open market had he opted for free agency next season. He opted not to. Why? He enjoys what he does and where he does it. And not being totally blind to the world around him, he realizes that he shall continue to make money that most of us could not even hope to earn even without looking to take his talents elsewhere. I simply love what Weaver said at the press conference at which his contract extension was announced. "If $85 [million] is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of families, then I'm pretty stupid," Weaver surmised. "How much money do you really need in life?"

Tuesday brought sad news as well from the world of sports. Whether you are a fan of women's college hoops or not, you have to admire Pat Summitt of Tennessee. She has been at Rocky Top winning National Championships since Mrs. Crockett gave birth to young Davy (coonskin cap and all) on that mountain. Or at least it seems that way. Summitt has coached her Lady Vols to 8 NCAA Championships while - along the way -winning more than 1,000 games, which by the way means she has been on the bench for more wins than any coach (men's or women's) in college hoops history. And if you think that somewhere Coach Wooden is not smiling at that thought, then you know not nearly enough about him. Or about Coach Summitt for that matter.

Pat Summitt is fifty-nine years young, having just had a birthday on Flag Day. On Tuesday, she announced to the world that she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. The fact that she broke the news while sitting on a couch in her home with her dog asleep across her lap lent an almost surreal quality to the content of her remarks. It is tough stuff to watch a person whose drive to succeed is legendary explain the game plan she has put together to deal with an opponent against whom she faces longer odds than any other she has ever faced, including some of the great U. Conn. teams against whom she has coached.

You want to believe that good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people and that the wires never get crossed. And then you absorb what Coach Summitt shared on Tuesday and you are reminded in short order that the world simply does not work that way.

If only it did. Then perhaps we would all find it a bit easier to be more like Lenny Bruce. I know I would.

-AK



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