First Person: Sharing Is Caring

By Lauren Brownlow | 0 Comment(s) | Posted

It’s political season! Nowadays, everyone seems to think their opinion not only matters, but also that the universe will implode if they don’t share it with everyone on Facebook, Twitter, the water cooler, whatever. And we are all so much better for it. 

The cultures surrounding both politics and sports have become more entwined than ever. Whenever there’s a sports controversy, coaches are asked about it. Their stances are unimportant, but say the wrong thing and it will be dissected by everyone from major national columnists to local bloggers (with varying degrees of context).

Like politicians, the hand-shaking, back-slapping part of being a head coach has become as important as x’s and o’s. President Obama has chimed in on a BCS playoff, concussions and even his NCAA Tournament bracket. Who he picks to win doesn’t really matter. But the average North Carolinian is more likely to know he picked the Tar Heels to win the title in 2009 and 2012 than the ins and outs of his tax plan. You know, the stuff that matters.

Any good politician knows how to pander. Since you, the people, have asked for opinions on things that don’t matter, or will offer your own without being asked, here are some of mine.

  • I believe in going for it on fourth down.
  • It’s not fun when the Carolina Panthers twist your still-beating heart out of your chest, shake it in front of you and laugh as they stomp on it repeatedly. But sharing your pain (and reading the pain of others) on Twitter makes it bearable. And there’s something refreshing about fans of all the local teams uniting behind something that causes all of us mutual pain and anguish.
  • Defensive backs are at a significant disadvantage with the way the game is officiated, and offensive pass interference is not called nearly as much as it should be.
  • Casual Fan is especially guilty of this: stop blaming sacks on the offensive line. There are a number of things that can go wrong on a play that can lead to sacks: wide receivers failing to get separation, quarterbacks not getting rid of the ball quickly enough, a running back missing an assignment, etc. Since you don’t know most of their names anyway, Casual Fan, leave the offensive linemen alone.
  • None of us are psychologists or body language experts. Stop analyzing towels draped over a quarterback’s head, a sideline altercation with an assistant coach, or even a pout to justify whatever opinion we have of a quarterback. And we need to stop treating every game as a referendum on a quarterback’s Hall of Fame status one way or the other while we’re at it.
  • I believe rooting for a different college football team and a different college basketball team should be outlawed. Let me guess: your football team is Notre Dame or Texas, and your basketball team is Duke or North Carolina, right? I’ll bet you also like the Yankees and the Steelers.
  • BB&T Field in Winston-Salem is the Bermuda Triangle, silently making good North Carolina football teams disappear. When things start to go wrong at Wake Forest, they go really wrong. The Tar Heels almost overcame their rash of bad luck. Duke somehow managed to last week (which convinced me the Blue Devils are for real, by the way). The crowd isn’t huge or especially loud, but some places have a feel. When momentum starts to shift there, it feels insurmountable. It’s uncanny.
  • I believe the basketball-playing children should be taught a mid-range game, good ball-handling and sound defensive fundamentals. But especially the mid-range game.
  • Slower-paced offenses are on the rise, and as a result college basketball is becoming unwatchable. I was there in person to witness a 54-36 debacle between Miami and Georgia Tech on Thursday night of the 2012 ACC Tournament. It was such a rancid exhibition that reporters brave enough to stay for the end referred to it on Twitter as #QuestFor40. (Forty, as in points. For awhile, it didn’t seem either team would reach 40 points. In a Division I men’s college basketball game.) This needs to stop.
  • Finally, I believe that there is a thin line between exaggerating contact and fictionalizing contact to get a call. Both are strategic, and both are somewhat disingenuous. Except for blatant flops, the concept of flopping is more in the eye of the beholder than any of us would like to admit. That said, as a PSA to all basketball players, egregious flops will be replayed on a loop for centuries to come and you will be eternally humiliated. Your future children will see that. You can’t escape that shame. So do the right thing.


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