Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Riffing On Entitlement

It's a slow week in late July, a little past the halfway point between the end of last athletic year and the start of the next one.

So what is a blogger to do?

Every now and then, TigerBlog will see something that triggers something that makes him say "hey, that'd be something good to write about." Nine times out of 10, he forgets all about what it was.

It's like that scene in "Seinfeld," where Jerry scribbles something down in the middle of the night that he thinks was going to be hilarious but when he wakes up, he can't remember what it was.

It frustrates TB even more when he remembers what it was but then forgets it by the time he wants to write about it. Or if it's something that comes back to him later, only it's way too late by then for it to matter.

Then again, every now and then, something comes around that smacks him in the face at a moment when he's without a subject.

Like now.

TB wrote about the royal baby, which then prompted this comment:
PU riffing about a disdain of entitlement is like Ryan Braun riffing about a disdain of steroid use. 

And it was signed "Jason Garrett."

And presto, TB has something to write about.

Let's get back to the baby, for a moment. How could it take these two parents so long to come up with what to name him?

The stories about how it's possible to bet on the baby's name - or basically anything else - fascinated TB way more than the baby himself did.

As for the comment, well, there are a few issues.

First, was it really Jason Garrett, the Princeton alum and head coach of the Dallas Cowboys who posted it? Rather than speculate, TB will simply point out that in this day and age, anyone can say anything and use any name desired.

The point is there is no way to know definitively if it is Garrett, or anyone else.

It's a lesson that the athletic department staff often will try to get across to the 1,000 Princeton athletes each year. When they have conversations with people about their team, their coaches, their next game, the officials - anything - they have no real way of knowing what will happen with that information.

Is it going to show up on some blog like this one? Or on the Ivy League message board? Or on some email distribution list?

And who will be the author? Someone claiming to be someone else?

In other words, they need to be extraordinarily careful with anything that could be construed as "classified" information. Or comments that might not exactly be flattering, to Princeton, its athletes, its coaches, its officials, its opponents, the other schools in the league, anything.

As TB said last week when the subject was Twitter, it used to be harder to say something dumb, because you needed someone to say it to. Actually, it didn't just require someone to say it to. It required someone who had an outlet to publish whatever dumb thing was said.

Now? Nope. Anyone can be an outlet.

Even Jason Garrett. If that's really who it was.

And what about Jason's comment?

TB actually thought about it when he was writing about the new baby. Yes, Princeton is a place of great, historical entitlement, or, if TB would have chosen the word, privilege.

Still, TB wasn't talking about that when he was talking about the British monarchy. He was talking about the idea that everyone is created equal.

And maybe some who are third and fourth and fifth generation at a school like Princeton or Harvard or Yale aren't born as equally as some whose parents never went to college.

There's an arena where that doesn't matter, though, and it's athletics.

TigerBlog heard Pete Carril talk about this publicly many times and privately many, many more times than that. On his team, there was no privilege. Or at least no inherent privilege.

No. Privilege is what you earned in practice.

It's something that Carril always spoke about with extraordinary passion, and it's stuff TB will never forget.

Gary Walters, Princeton's Director of Athletics the last 19 years, played for Carril in high school, Reading High School. It's a public school in an area that nobody would consider affluent. Carril himself is the son of man who worked in the Bethlehem steel mills for 40 years.

The football coach is the son of a high school football coach. The men's lacrosse coach is the son of public school teachers. He took over for a coach - a Hall of Fame coach - whose father was a New York City cop. The women's soccer coach is also from a family in law enforcement.

The women's track and field coach is a New York City Catholic high school product who through his own hard work and natural abilities was able to run at the dream school for kids from his background, Notre Dame.

TigerBlog could go on and on about the people he works with.

Nobody handed any of them anything.

And the athletes?

Yeah, some come elite prep schools. Many come from public schools.

The point is that it doesn't matter.

Either you can play or you can't. Either you worked hard enough to be a Princeton student or you didn't.

That's it.

Privilege? Entitlement?

Not in these arenas.

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