The Hot Seat: A Year of Outrage, Pride, and Occasional Games of College Football by Ben Mathis-Lilley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If this book had just been about Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football program, I would have enjoyed it. However the author also extended this book to commentary about politics, religion and our national culture. Unlike some others, I enjoyed and appreciated the author’s forays into those topics. I have to admit a certain sympathy for Jim Harbaugh. Despite all the money that he is being paid, he can never satisfy the rabid desires of a typical Michigan football fan. And by the critiques and scorn that I read and see on various sports venues, Harbaugh cannot satisfy many critical commentators as to his worth.

Lord knows that many football coaches at major universities are way over paid. And one bad season can have them looking for new work quickly. Just note the unrealistic expectations at Nebraska from the Athletic Director and its football fans.

This is an excellent read if you are a college football fan or even if you are not. You don’t have to be a football fan to see how crazy college football is. For the past few years, Michigan has been Ground Zero for much of this craziness. I highly recommend this book… Excellent narrative… Cogent commentary on college sports in general.

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“Old” Lang Syne

I have celebrated 70 New Years Days. I have outgrown resolutions as most of them were simply wishful thinking on my part. It’s a bit of a somber day as I reflect upon family members, friends, acquaintances and places that no longer exist. I wonder how many “Time Square Ball Drops” are left in my life?

This was a somber New Year’s Day for most of the people in the United States. Omicron limited travel, family reunions, parties, hugs and handshakes. The celebrations and crowds at Times Square last night were very subdued. Hopefully next year life will return to a more routine existence. Maybe this can be a resolution for the CDC and other government agencies?

I remember looking forward to the football bowl games on New Year’s Day. The Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls had the best games with the best competition. Bowl competition today has been severely diluted. Even a Rutgers team with a 5-7 record managed to play in a bowl game, though they were a substitute for a more qualified team that was going through Covid.

It’s time to get rid of the ice or Gatorade baths that winning coaches suffer at the end of games.

No one seems to get excited about the Mummers parade in Philadelphia or the Tournament of Roses Parade any more. When I was a young kid, I remember fighting with my mom at not being able to watch football as she chose to watch the parades. Of course this was a time (1960s) when most families only had one television.

Betty White passed away yesterday at age 99. She was a very skillful comedienne who was also very attractive. Comediennes currently who combine talent for humor and great looks include Aisley Bea, Tina Fey, Cecily Strong, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Katherine Ryan and Kate McKinnon.

A lot of prognosticators and people with crystal balls thought the 2021 was going to be a much better year than 2020. They were disappointed. Covid did not go away. People continued to die and be hospitalized with the pandemic. Despite a new president, the political divide got worse. While the stock market did very well, most of the country suffered from inflated prices from houses, cars, gasoline, clothes and in particular, food. I think it’s more prudent to hope than predict future events for 2022.

“No” to Fall College and High School Sports

I miss watching sports. I miss watching the competition between teams and among individuals. I miss players displaying their talents, drive and athleticism. I miss the energy of a rabid crowd cheering for their team. With all that said, I don’t want to watch sports played under the current pandemic circumstances, especially high school and college sports. I think that athletic directors and university presidents are delusional to think that games could be played given the spread of infections, particularly in the southern and southwestern sections of this country where college football is fanatical.

I understand that the cancellation of fall sports at many colleges and universities could mean the termination of all sports at those schools. Again I appreciate the economic and psychological fallout of canceled sports. But subjecting the possible infection of the coronavirus to a college athlete is not unlike sending Christians to face lions and tigers in an ancient Roman arena. The outcomes are not likely to be favorable.

In this country, we are anxious for a return to normalcy—-a return to the routines and lifestyles we enjoyed before the spread of the pandemic. Some people practice this by refusing to wear masks thus prolonging the consequences of the pandemic. As a country, we are also experiencing political, economic and social agendas that may not reflect good judgment, good science and common sense. I err to the side of caution.

As an aside, I am not sure that re-opening the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball is a good idea either but those players are pros and are getting paid and have the ability to opt out.