By Bill Tamburrino
I have often said and I truly believe that sports is a microcosm of society. Unfortunately, that can be a bad thing. It is my opinion that we are trying to give away too many things in this kinder more politically correct world of ours, especially in America. Thomas Jefferson was correct: There are certain inalienable rights that everybody deserves. However, there are some characteristics that must be earned. We seem to have forgotten this in society and that is also filtering into sports. Everybody deserves life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everybody deserves to have a fair chance, equal opportunity and to be treated equally under the law. However, anybody who has played, coached or observed any sport realizes that all men and women were not created equal. We make allowances for those natural differences. In wrestling and boxing there are weight classes. In high school we have divisions (in CIF but not in leagues in San Diego) to ensure fair competition. The same is supposed to be true in college and professional sports. It isn’t, but it is supposed to be. Some things must be earned. A spot on a roster should be earned. The minimum criteria set up by a school, CIF or state should not guarantee a spot on a roster. Having a C average, with no more than one F, and satisfactory conduct should not guarantee a spot on any roster. I believe that the same should be true for attending school. In my 40-plus years as an educator, I came to a conclusion. Some students don’t want to be in school and don’t care about being in school, and their parents don’t want them at home. They can make life miserable for those who want to be in school and want to learn and they can make life miserable for teachers and administrators. Too much time and money is spent on those who don’t care and don’t want to learn. There should be a difference between education and child care. All too often there isn’t. Awards and honors should be earned and not given, and that includes bowl games and playoff berths. Before any more is said (written, actually) one truth must be stated. The NCC, the CIF, the NCAA, NAIA all have too much in common with Depression-era alphabet soup titles. They are only about money. Teams made it to the CIF playoffs because they deserved to go, NOT because they earned the right to go. Teams are going to bowl games because they deserve to go (can sell tickets), not because they earned the right to go. The only thing more funny than the names of the bowls is the names and records of the teams going to the bowls. Some of the names of bowls: Famous Idaho Potato, Belk, Pinstripe, Meineke Car Care, Chick-fil-A, GoDaddy.com, Texas vs. the nation, Toilet Bowl, Insight, Fight Hunger, Rip off the ticket buyers. Records of teams and the records of teams going to bowls: Marshall 6-6, Arizona State 6-6, Purdue 6-6, Iowa State 6-6, Mississippi State vs. Wake Forrest both 6-6, Texas A&M vs. Northwestern both 6-6, Vanderbilt 6-6, UCLA 6-7 vs. Illinois 6-6, Florida vs. Ohio State both 6-6, Pittsburgh 6-6. Coaches were fired for having such bad records and the teams that got them fired are going to bowl games. Go figure! How does an AD or president have the gumption to fire a coach and let his/her team go to a bowl? Twelve bowl teams can end up with losing records and seven losses. UCLA can end up with eight losses. UCLA could have gone to the Rose Bowl with six losses. Tell me that the BCS is a good thing! Bowl games and CIF playoff games give coaches a chance to practice for next year. Players get gear, rings, watches and a vacation (if a trips to Detroit, Idaho and the Bronx during the winter are vacations). Coaches get a bonus on their resumes. Sponsors get their names on TV and in the papers. Boosters get to go to Detroit, Idaho and the Bronx. I’ll be in Hawaii for some of the bowl season. The bowl season is from Dec. 17 to Feb. 5. I wish I could be in Hawaii for the entire bowl season. I do, however, plan on watching at least five bowl games.