A few months ago, I wrote a few blogs on the Penn St. scandal and how it was a shame that one of the greatest football coaches of all time would eventually lose his job and sure enough, he did. Shortly after, Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer, further adding to his misery. Just this morning, coach Paterno lost his bout with that awful disease.
In some ways, it was like God took Paterno out of his misery by taking him from us. I cannot imagine Paterno was a very happy man after being fired in November. Coaching at Penn St. was his life, his passion. He didn’t really have any other interests. Golf, hunting, fishing were not things Joe Pa did like many coaches. His whole life was about football and coaching young men to become better players and better people. Suddenly that passion of his life was taken from him. Whether it was fair or not can be debated. But you have to admit that it was a very sad way for a great career to end.
As a sports fan, two words come to mind when I think of Paterno, old school. He was about as old schooled as any coach in the land. Those jerseys of his teams have been the same for the last 60 years!! Nothing fancy or flashy about his program. Those jerseys pretty much symbolized who Paterno was. Someone who probably went to the Dairy Queen and always bought a vanilla ice cream cone. But that plain nature did produce results with Joe Pa having the most wins of any coach in major college football. He knew how to win and for the most part ran a very good program.
This fall, a new coach will take the field for Penn St. and a new era will begin. But it will just not be the same without that skinny old guy on the sidelines with the funny glasses and ankle high flood pants. He will be missed by all of college football. Sure there will be a black mark on his legacy but he has done so many positive things for college football and Penn State. I believe over time, those positive things will far overshadow the scandal and his legacy will be one of a program that produced good results and fine young men.
Without question, the most talked about athlete in the country during the past few months has to be Tim Tebow. Sunday’s dramatic playoff victory further added to this hype that is sweeping the country. Imagine if Tebow leads the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl? It might make this years Super Bowl the highest rated sporting event ever on television.
While Tebow has many fans including myself, he has a number of critics too. There are a good many Jesus haters in this country who simply cannot stand seeing a Christian athlete express his faith on the playing field and during interviews. Apparently to these people, it is not cool to express your faith on your sleeve. Many of these same people would rather see some knucklehead player swear and boast about how good he is and why he deserves more fame. Other people are not offended by his religion, but by the fact that he gets more publicly than he deserves. It is a very debatable point.
Personally, I think Tebow is a slightly better than average quarterback as far as just skills goes. He will get a lot better in the coming years with his mechanics and decision-making on the field. I mean the guy is just a rookie for crying out loud! His ability to run with the ball could revolutionize the quarterback position. But the intangibles that he brings to the field, the confidence and will to win are attributes that could make him a great one in a few years.
In this day and age of athletes behaving badly and getting all a lot of attention, Tebow is a huge breath of fresh air in the world of sports. He certainly is a person that many young athletes can look up to. He may not win every football game but in the game of life, he is always a winner.
Well the new year is finally here and with it brings that certain level of excitement or anticipation about what the year 2012 will bring. There are many big story lines and questions coming up this year. Will Obama get re-elected? Will the Packers repeat as Super Bowl champions? How will the economy do and will gas prices hit 5 dollars a gallon? And the biggest question might be whether yours truly can finally rediscover my jump shot on the basketball court!! Well not really! So without any further delays, let me give you some of the my predictions for the upcoming year.
1. Presidential election. Hard to believe that it was just 4 years ago when a glitzy politician named Barack Obama became the first African-American president of this country. Now 4 years later, he faces a very difficult re-election campaign and I believe it will be a huge upset if he gets elected again. I didn’t vote for him back then and certainly will not this time either. The candidates for the Republican field are have issues too but I feel Mitt Romney will get the party’s nomination and eventually beat Obama in November. It will be hard for Obama to get re-elected with his record and total lack of leadership.
2. The economy. There are certainly signs out there that the economy is getting better, however, it is progressing at a snail’s pace. Those dropping unemployment numbers are somewhat encouraging but the number of foreclosures are not and the housing situation remains a big issue. I believe the economy will pretty much stay the same for the next year. I can’t see the unemployment rate really changing much at all. There is way too much uncertainty out there in the business world both domestically and world-wide for companies to start hiring people. Employers are being cautious and rightly should be.
3. The Super Bowl. Probably the most difficult thing to pick in pro sports is the Super Bowl champ. The last 3 champs basically came out of nowhere and won the title. This year, I believe it will be the New Orleans Saints. After beating the Green Bay Packers in an epic overtime battle in the NFC title game, the Saints will defeat the Baltimore Ravens for the title. They are the hottest team in football right now.
4. Lebron finally gets his ring. There have been stories about Lebron James getting engaged during the past week. But come June, Lebron and the Miami Heat will win the NBA title over the San Antonio Spurs and LBJ will finally get what should be the first of a few NBA championship rings.
5. The weather. Last October, several brilliant long-range forecasters predicated a harsh winter for us folks in Minnesota. Funny but during Christmas, I had thoughts of getting in some winter time golf . Florida you ask? No right here in Minnesota!! It has been a strange weather year but I will go out on a limb and say we will get above average snow in March and umm, do I dare say, April? I’m no weather guy but things always seem to balance out every year.
6. Gas prices. Gas prices have dropped quite a bit during the past year. The other day, I filled up at $3.19 a gallon. I’m probably paying about 50 dollars per month less than last summer. Now that is a real stimulus! Will it last? I doubt it. I can see sometime in the this year when conflicts errupts in the middle east and gas goes up to $4.50 a gallon. Of course it will probably happen in July when many others and myself do a lot of traveling.