I want to scream.
I want to fly to Knoxville, stand in the center of the of the University of Tennessee campus and scream, "Look at this!"
I want to hold up a page from Thursday's
His head is in his right hand.
His family is gone.
His world is destroyed.
And all you can think about is
Please, do the world a simple favor: Find the nearest mirror and look at yourself. Wipe off the white-and-orange face paint, remove the goofy hat, slip out of the
What do you see?
Immediately following Kiffin's press conference to announce his departure for USC on Tuesday evening, a mob of approximately 500 people gathered on campus. According to the
The coach was driven home by university police officers, and a Knox County deputy was assigned to protect him. "We assured (Kiffin)," said sherriff
In the ensuing days, Vols message boards have been overtaken by people tearing into Kiffin. Tearing into Kiffin's wife. Wishing him personal harm and never-ending misery. He is, they believe, the anti-Christ -- an evil, self-absorbed man who eats young children and secretly plots world domination from the balcony of his sadistic lair.
When, exactly, did we start reaching such a low? When did sports go from serving as a mere diversion (entertainment, enjoyment, fun), to being a way of life ... an actual barometer of a community's happiness or grief? When did the career decision (albeit, awkwardly expressed) of a moderately successful 34-year-old football coach begin to matter so much?
As a boy growing up in small town of Mahopac, N.Y., my parents would try and comfort me following Little League losses by saying, "It's just a game -- keep things in perspective" Then we'd get ice cream. The lesson took some time to sink in, but once it did, I never forgot it. Sports have always been important in my life, but primarily as a way to have fun. Heck, that's when they're at their absolute best: Your day at work stunk, your spouse is in a bad mood, the kid's got the flu -- thank god
Having spent two-and-a-half years of my career in Tennessee, I was an unfortunate firsthand witness to the lunacy that is SEC football. During the time I was a writer at
Pathetic -- but not surprising.
There is a place in this country for sports. An important place. The lessons of athletics can be invaluable, the bonds everlasting. But when a city reacts to the fleeing of a football coach with greater dismay than the loss of thousands of lives, something has gone wrong.