We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My dad is friends with a fellow who played for Coach Bryant in the early/mid seventies. One day he was telling my dad about how he knew football wasn't going to be his "thing". He said after practice one day Coach Bryant called him over and said, "Son, only three things keep you from being a great football player. Would you like to know what they are? - (My dad's friend said he responded enthusiastically that he did) Speed, size, and talent."
I got this from the biography of a college football coach. Coach got teed off at something - maybe some memo from administration. Coach started shouting in a loud voice. From a nearby observer: "Coach, I can't hear you."
George Lynn Cross, President of the University of Oklahoma-a.k.a. OU- had a good one.
It was 1951 or '52, as Dr. George L. Cross remembered it, a year or so after the University of Oklahoma won its first national football championship, and he, the school president, was defending a budget request to the combined appropriations committee of the State Legislature.
For more than an hour, Dr. Cross detailed why the university needed the money.
When he finished, one ''sleepy old Senator'' raised up in his seat.
''Yes, that's all well and good,'' said the Senator. ''But what kind of football team are we going to have this year?''
Dr. Cross replied, ''We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.''
''It was a cynical remark because I thought my whole presentation had been wasted,'' says Dr. Cross today, ''but the quote was picked up all across the country.''
Coincidentally, I used to work for a guy whose father had been a running back for Bud Wilkinson at OU. The former running back became an entrepreneur. Ditto his son. As far as the stereotype of the dumb football player, all I can go by is what his son was like- very bright.
Over the decades, football players have become bigger and better. In the '30s, my father was second-string center for his college football team- at 155 pounds. He wouldn't even make tryouts today.
In addition, big-time college athletes today are putting in hours on their sports which at times become the equivalent of full time jobs. There are occasional examples of football players- usually offensive linemen- who are pursuing rigorous majors like pre-med or engineering. These are exceptionally self-disciplined people, whose self-discipline is far beyond that of most people.
Back in the day, the cousin of a friend of mine was second string on a State U basketball team that was not yet big-time. He was an English major who got a MSW- a student who happened to be an athlete. Turns out there were quite a few English majors on that team. Even an Engineering major. Nearly everyone graduated. These days at State U the time constraints for the big-time basketball team mean that a normal major like English is for very few. More like PE or Sports Studies.