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Dec. 10—Let's get to our business first.
Rushmore of schoolyard games: Capture the Flag, Freeze Tag, Dodgeball and Four square, but this was harder than I thought, and leaving kickball off pained me.
Rushmore of Kim Basinger movies: L.A. Confidential, 9 1/2 Weeks, The Natural and Batman.
Rushmore of Pearl: Sports division — Bruce Pearl, Earl the Pearl Monroe, A pearl (which is what we always called a new baseball), and former Syracuse point guard Dewayne "The Pearl" Washington, who was a dude back in the 1980s when Big Mondays on ESPN was a big deal. Non-sports division — Pearl Harbor, Minnie Pearl, Pearly Gates and Pearl Jam.
Rushmore of bowls: Bowling (at the alley), Toilet bowl, Rose Bowl, because it's the granddaddy of 'em all, and since it's Christmas, a bowl full of jelly.
Speaking of that, here's the best link for the entry list for the annual "Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success, Bowler Optional." The games start late next week.
Here's Paschall on Bryce Young standing on the edge of being Alabama's first Heisman QB.
Here's the link to the place to vote for the 2021 story of the year. Thoughts?
And a final tip of the visor to former UTC golf coach Mark Guhne, who has a hard argument of crafting if not the best UTC athletic program over the 2000s, certainly one that is in the team picture. Guhne announced that he's retiring after 16 years.
To the mailbag.
From Don Page Jr.
Baylor fired their head football coach today, think McCallie's success the past three years, particularly last week had anything to do with this decision?
I don't think there is any doubt that the unprecedented success of the Big Blue had the Big Red looking to make a big change.
In a lot of ways, and I know it has been put out there in a lot of social media, the McCallie-effect right now is not unlike what has happened to Auburn and/or Tennessee — and even some of the other high-profile SEC programs — while Saban and Alabama has turned 11-plus wins and competing for championships into the baseline expectation.
But, that has a lot more in play than just hiring a head coach. (Now Saban is such a different beast that I think he would be a playoff regular at Arkansas or Oklahoma State or BYU or you name it. He's that good.)
Beyond the hire comes the institutional investment in competing for championships, and that's way more than just lip service at the next coach's introduction.
And whoever replaces Phil Massey, considering Baylor's resources and its commitment to excellence — as well as its competitive spirit with its rival — here's betting the Red Raiders are ready to roll.
Side note: Here's more from TFP sports editor and all-around preps sports guru Stephen Hargis. And I also feel obligated to offer this: While Massey did not win it all or even win as often as maybe he and/or the Baylor faithful may have wanted, he was always a first-class dude to deal with. And, I believe, 100% in it for the right reasons. I get the business, but that does not mean I can't feel bad for my friends who get churned up in the business.
Hey J, I'm looking forward to "Bowling for Bowls" contest, though I do expect some hold-outs and such that will affect the games, so I'm going to wait until the last minute to make a submission.
If I had a Masterclass pick, I wouldn't hesitate with my pick for one minute, it would be putting lessons with Tiger. I can really use some professional guidance since the 3-putts always kill my score, plus, it would be really cool to just hang out with Tiger for a while I think. Here's one for ya on this Which way Wednesday, if you could play a round and have any person be your personal caddy for the day, which way would you go? The professional golfer that could give you lots of tips and help you along the way, or would you want it to be someone that's not a golfer, but would be really cool just to hang out with for the day?
Thanks J, keep up the good work.
Fire away and waiting to see who may or may not opt out is a wise play. Side note: This is the longest running 5-at-10 contest, and has been part of offering from the very beginning. We started in late-October 2010 and had a smaller version of this contest that December/January and every year since.
Interesting MasterClass question, my man.
And it sounds like your golf game mirrored mine, you know, back when I actually played golf on even a semi-regular basis. My putting was dreadful, and I'm not overly sure multiple sessions with Tiger would help all that much.
Which leads me to my answer to your question:
Give me Daly or Keith Mitchell or some gregarious personality that may kick back a Co-Cola or three and have fun doing the loop. Heck, I'd take Barkley or even Peyton in that regard.
But one afternoon with even a gifted teacher like Hank Haney or Butch Harmon, or a great playing pro who may have the best intentions at heart would certainly be informative. And it could get frustrating, especially considering if Phil Mickelson or Freddie Couples is standing there, I'm already going to be nervous as all get-out.
And then to be commenting on my takeaway or my head placement or my pronator not pronating or my connator not connating, you know?
Would you coach a transgender 5th grader for the Nolan Knights?
OK, some background. JoeDon is a regular — he's had a few mailbag offerings over the last few months — who emails rather than playing along in the comments.
There are several like that, which is fine.
And in some ways, I was not sure if this question was serious or rhetorical, because JoeDon has a funny, flippant way.
But the more I've thought about this question, the more confusing the situation becomes.
On a personal level, I do not think it's fair for an athlete like Lia Thomas to swim against naturally born women. We've covered that some this week and the story is layered.
It offered some interesting feedback Thursday, like this from J-Mac:
"Looking forward to your mailbag on this tomorrow. This is not fair to the women swimmers. Swimming World said the same thing as you did about the records. Lia already had the fastest time in two events than last year's NCAA championship time. Supposedly, Lia has been on hormone suppressing drugs for over a year and living as a female for over a year. That does not mean gender reassignment surgery. Should that be a requirement for participation?"
And this from Tom:
"My thoughts on it have changed, not in regard to whether it should be allowed, but on who is really trying to take advantage. If someone who was born male and has since transitioned wants to compete, then to me, the only fair way to do that is either compete based on your biology, or compete in a third group that would be all transgender athletes. But the comments you have above from even the teammates who are pretty much all against it and that it seems to be as much being driven by the coach who just wants to win, make me wonder if even Lia isn't being taken advantage of."
My thoughts on it personally have not changed, either. I don't think it's fair.
But JoeDon's question was a little more direct and closer to home. I coach a 4th/5th girls' basketball team in the North Hamilton League for the girls that go to Nolan. My daughter plays on the team.
And if that situation was presented to me, I would want to say "No thanks."
But would that even be legal in this day and age? Even in youth sports? I don't know the answer to that, and to be honest, I hope I do not need to find out.
Then there is the very real and very personal situation for the individual facing the very confusing time. My heart goes out to those dealing with issues — both personal and societal — of those trying to navigate those unknown waters. Especially at the younger ages. That can't be easy.
But that compassion can't override or make me forget the fairness issue that is the baseline for competitive sports.
Great question and discussion gang.
Have a great weekend friends.