February 7, 2013 in Sports

Blanchette: Hats off to those who don’t play hat game

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Jimmy: “Thank you all for coming. I know letter-of-intent signing day is a very busy time for all of you. I was just going to do this over Twitter but I don’t have any followers.”

Reporter: “Who are you?”

Jimmy: “My name is Jimmy. Jimmy Kirque.”

Reporter: “OK. And you’re boldly going to the University of Where No Man Has Gone Before?”

Jimmy: “Ha! LOL, right?”

TV cameraman: “Where are all the cheering kids? This is going to make for a lousy live shot.”

Jimmy: “Maybe we should just get this going. I’m sure you know why we’re all here today. I’m announcing where I’ll be taking my talents next fall.”

TV cameraman: “Wait, where are the hats?”

Jimmy: “The hats?”

TV cameraman: “You’re supposed to have three or four hats, from different schools. Then you pick up one and pretend that’s your school, then you put it down and put another one on your head.”

Jimmy: “Isn’t that kind of corny? I mean, if it’s going to be a show, at least get the drama class involved. They’ve got some pretty creative kids who could come up with something better than that.”

Reporter: “Look, Jimmy whoever you are, we’ve never heard of you. Were you all-league or something? Any stats?”

Jimmy: “Well, my FAFSA score is 19696.”

Reporter: “Which means?”

Jimmy: “A second mortgage on the house if my folks want to help me out with my education from this point on.”

TV reporter: “So where are you going next year?”

Jimmy: “Oh, the school just down the road.”

Reporter: “To play football?”

Jimmy: “I don’t play football.”

Reporter: “Then what’s this all about?”

Jimmy: “I just thought people would be interested that I’ve taken out a boatload of loans so I can attend the school they go crazy for.”

TV reporter: “Loans?”

Jimmy: “That’s right, I’m a true walk-on. Aren’t walk-ons inspirational stories?”

Reporter: “Sure, sometimes.”

Jimmy: “Well, what could be more inspirational than a kid taking on six figures in debt to realize his educational dreams?”

Reporter: “So you’ve never played football?”

Jimmy: “Not never. But the coach cut me when I had to miss the summer 7-on-7 camps because my folks needed me to babysit my little brother and sister.”

TV reporter: “Can we at least say you’ll be going to watch football games next year?”

Jimmy: “Probably not. I’ll be working the drive-thru at McDonald’s on Saturdays.”

Reporter: “OK, we get the point. You’re one of these bitter losers all bent out of shape about jocks. What, did one of them steal your girlfriend?”

Jimmy: “You’ve got it all wrong. I love football. I’m a big fan. I watch it, I read about it. And the players at this school are good guys. I feel bad when they play their games and there’s a maybe couple hundred people rattling around a stadium that seats 20,000.”

Reporter: “So your beef is…”

Jimmy: “Everybody’s nutzo, and this day is a new low every year. The hotshot recruit doesn’t get his letter faxed by mid-morning and the fan boards are overheating on righteous indignation and conspiracy theories. And that’s just a sliver of it.”

TV reporter: “Oh?”

Jimmy: “Look what it’s doing to people’s values, what they’re teaching each other: Coach yanks a kid’s scholarship offer two weeks before the signing date to take another player, who then turns around and stiffs the coach in the last 24 hours. Then it’s all ‘loyalty’ and ‘family’ and ‘commitment’ in the postgame press conference come fall.”

Reporter: “Hey, recruiting’s a tough business.”

Jimmy: “And don’t forget ‘an inexact science.’ All these five-star blue-chippers? A paper in South Carolina analyzed the top 100 over a four-year period and found that nearly half were busts who were minor contributors to their programs, at best. This is what all the signing day insanity is about?”

Reporter: “What else? There has to be a money rant in here somewhere.”

Jimmy: “Look, college costs are out of control all over. I’m not too thrilled that those loans I’m taking on are going to pay a $150,000 salary to a vice president whose job is to decline comment the next time an athlete can’t grasp that no means no.”

Reporter: “But?”

Jimmy: “OK. I presume you saw the results of the Delta Cost Project? That athletic spending in the five years up to 2010 increased by $6,200 per athlete at Division I schools, compared to just a $500 per-student bump in academic spending? That what’s now the Pac-12 spends more than $100,000 per athlete, compared to $14,000 per student?”

Reporter: “What’s that tell you?”

Jimmy: “Athletics is the front porch to the university. But most of us wind up being shown in through the servants’ entrance.”

TV cameraman: “Look, I’m almost out of battery. Can I ask one more thing?”

Jimmy: “Sure.”

TV cameraman: “You gonna put on a hat, or what?”


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