Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 4

This Week’s Roundtable is hosted by:

Vol Junkies

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by Vol Junkies, who has served up another installment of questions burning in the minds of the citizens of Orange Nation.

Thus, here are our thoughts for the week:

Week 4

1) What is your thought on Eric Berry’s Heisman chances?  Should he play on offense in-order to increase his chances?  Is Kiffin being to selfish saying Berry will not practice offense?

bullet HSH: I’m not exactly how real Berry’s chances of actually winning the Trophy—which I deemed meaningless after the Manning debacle.  Not only does he have the obstacle of being a defensive player, he has to basically beat Colt McCoy from Texas, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma and some guy named Tebow.  I don’t think Lane Kiffin should play Berry on offense just to help his Heisman chances.  If our offense is seriously sucking, then sure, desperate times call for desperate measures.

That said, I have absolutely no problem with the University doing the whole campaign thing.  Berry is obviously a special, once-in-a-while player with a great attitude.  Seeing him in person on and off the field the past two years has been something I’m glad to have been a part of—now if only he might consider staying for his senior year…

bullet Lawvol: I have very mixed (albeit not necessarily negative) feelings on this.

First of all, I personally believe that Eric Berry is more than deserving of a shot at the Heisman Trophy.  In two short years he has pretty much become the man-beast of SEC defenses and is, hands down, the best defensive player in the toughest conference in the country.  I personally believe that he is the best defensive player in any conference, anywhere.  That, however, is just my opinion and I will be the first to admit that I am biased.  Still, there is no arguing with the fact that Eric Berry has earned the right to be considered among the top players in the country this season and to be considered for the Heisman.  I am unequivocally behind the Tennessee’s campaign to promote Berry’s Heisman candidacy.

That said, I am less that optimistic about his chances…

I say that because, since only one truly defensive player has previously won the Heisman—which I am sure every Tennessee fan remembers all too well—the precedent is somewhat weak.  Furthermore, given the national media’s love affair with Tim Tebow, I expect that every possible machination that can occur to ensure Tebow winning the trophy for the second time will be brought to bear, if at all possible.

There is also the fact that exaggerated hype often leads to less-than-stellar performances since, with everyone talking about how great a particular player is, the target on their back gets even bigger when facing opponents.  That is not to say that I doubt Berry’s ability to produce in the same way he has in the past, but recognizes that opposing teams will be gunning for him … and staying away from him.

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I Didn’t Miss Anything, Did I? A Month in Review

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Yep, I’m still here. Lawvol hasn’t kicked me out of the site yet, despite my laziness and lack of posting this spring. I literally haven’t posted anything in a month and two days. My last post focused on Tyler Smith declaring for the NBA Draft and his prospects for that draft. Since then, I’ve had to finish up the spring semester, haul through a three week min-term class, and, probably most importantly, looked for and found a place to intern for the fall in efforts to further my career. After all, I am now a senior and hopefully I’ll have graduated this time next year (yes, it’s kind of scary).

I sure haven’t missed too much the past month…

If you’re like me, you’ve long been counting down to August and football season already, and only the NBA and NHL playoffs have been offering a real distraction from that. It’s been a rather action-packed month for the Tennessee program, as there seems to be something come up just about every single day, especially this past week.

J.C. Copeland

Recruiting: This new staff obviously spends an incredible amount of time evaluating and going through the process, and that has reaped some results the past two weeks. After this season, the offensive and defensive lines are going to be particularly thin, so those two positions without a doubt are the biggest needs in the 2010 class.

So Tennessee goes out and gets some big people. Yes way yes way Jose Jose started it off, followed by JUCO defenders Pat Harris and Bruce Irvin, Georgia J.C. Copeland, and Miami linebacker/d-end Ralph Williams. Now I must admit I hadn’t heard of any of these guys. Additionally, Jose needs to drop some weight and Harris didn’t even play football in high school. Obviously we fans have to simply take our coaches’ words for it when it comes to recruiting because it’s so hit-or-miss, but I think we need to understand that this is likely going to be a big class numbers-wise and size-wise, as in there’s going to be some beef in these commitments. I also don’t find much surprise in taking some junior college players who have the potential ability to come in and contribute right away. Then again, those guys are even more hit (Gibril Wilson) or miss (Kenny O’Neal).

Jake Heaps...

The QB situation: In addition to the needs along the lines, the other big recruiting story line is of course the QB position, where the Vols expect to sign at least two in the 2010 class. Jake Heaps and Jesse Scroggins (their Rivals profiles are linked at the end) are the two big names, and Andrew Hendrix has been another guy whose name I’ve heard alot. I’ll keep my opinion on this simple: if Tennessee were to get Heaps or Scroggins and Hendrix or another guy, then I think you can be happy with that.

or Jesse Scroggins?

Now that is where having the situation with Robert Marve not work out hurts a little, because now after this season you’re down to Nick Stephens and Mike Rozier, the former baseball player. That’s also where B.J. Coleman bailing doesn’t help either, but the way he handled that situation of going to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press first and throwing the coaches under the bus makes me not miss him. Good riddance and enjoy playing for a really bad UT-Chattanooga program. Nevertheless, we should know something on Heaps and Scroggins soon, because Heaps has said he wants to make his decision in June and Scroggins may very well be waiting to see what Heaps does.

The exodus: OK, players leaving is a part of any program where there’s a turnover of coaching staffs, so this was sort of expected. It happened at Alabama when Nick Saban was hired and it’s happened now with the Kiffin regime. What does it mean, exactly? Well, really outside of the Coleman departure’s effect on the QB depth, the collective contributions of the 11 leaving players isn’t much, outside of Lennon Creer and Dee Morley. Creer saw the writing on the wall with Toney Williams, Bryce Brown and David Oku joining the stable, and Morley had been walking a tight line for awhile. Losing some lineman hurts depth, but overall, how bad have the 11 departures really been? Hey, if a player isn’t going to cut it or doesn’t want to do the work that will cut it, then see ya later.

Even the new coaching staff has had a member leave this week in strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith. Obviously the AD and Kiffin had mutual disagreements of some kind with Smith and it’s unfortunate and probably a negative event, but I think Tennessee will be OK in the end. Aaron Ausmus seems like the likely replacement, but Lane needs to find one soon, since summer workouts start next week.

Hokey Pahokee: Much. Ado. About. Nothing. No, Lane shouldn’t have said what he said and he apologized well before this got brought up again. The principal of the school and whoever else had a hand in drawing this out to the point it got to came across as desperate for some attention. The problem I had was the administration of a school denying access of specific schools to their students. In other words, if I’m a stud recruit at that Pahokee and there’s mutual interest between me and Tennessee, should the school have the right to deny UT access to me? Fortunately it’s apparently all good down there now, so hopefully UT can get another player from that talent-rich area.

Yes or no?

Twitter-gate: Who cares? Secondary violations don’t mean a thing…unless Tennessee does it. Lane didn’t even “tweet” it, so I don’t even blink an eye to this nonsense.

On another note, what’s the deal with Twitter? I’ve been back-and-forth on whether or not I want to give in and join the craze and following some of the various athletes’ accounts would be cool, but what’s the big deal? If you’re on there, please tell me…

Daniel Hood: This got a great deal of attention as well as it should have, so I won’t spend too much time on it. It’s a touchy subject as well, and I was skeptical at first about it. However, I feel much better about it now than I did when I first got the news the Hood was getting a scholarship. Tennessee still will have a convicted rapist on the team and opposing fans will use this against the Vols from now until the end of time, but that’s part of the consequences. The bottom line for me is that everyone who commented in stories I read who are and were much, much closer to Hood and the situation than any of us said nothing but positive things about Hood. I mean, the victim of the whole ordeal vouched for Hood. What more does it take? I think Lane and the staff and Mike Hamilton did their work on this one, so I can handle their decision.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably post something about the awesomely exciting (or “amazing,” if you agree with the slogan) NBA Playoffs. Also, this is probably old news, but if you haven’t already checked it out, Will over at Rocky Top Talk is getting into the nitty-gritty (ie, top 15) of his countdown of the 50 best games from the Philip Fulmer era. This is probably old because they started way back in January, but it’s really good stuff – the writing and story-telling is so good it might even be better than the nostalgic feelings of the good ‘ol days.

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

Images Courtesy of: VolQuestRivals – Jake HeapsRivals – Jesse Scroggins

See You Next Year Tyler

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

As had been expected, Tennessee’s Tyler Smith declared for the NBA Draft yesterday. As is the case with a number of others draft entrees, Tyler hasn’t hired an agent, so he’s got until June 15 to come back.

Will #1 be back?

As the title of this post clearly states, I think Tyler Smith is going to be playing for Tennessee next year. I don’t believe I’m in the minority in thinking that, either. Now, I could be very wrong, because Tyler could go work out for one of these teams playing right now (that will have late first-round picks) and really impress them.

It’s not that Tyler isn’t a good player or not NBA material. There are guys in the NBA who I see and wonder how they in the league (take Sean Marks, Mark Madsen, Brian Cardinal and Robert Swift, for example) in the first place. It’s just that Tyler is a small forward in the NBA, and he’s playing the power forward spot for Tennessee. He showed he can knock down the outside shot when he’s left open, but this season he faced quite a bit of traffic in the lane because teams sagged off the perimeter because we couldn’t shoot threes and struggled with his shot. The Memphis game – against a long, athletic team – comes to mind.

So he can post up, he can shoot it decently, but can he straight-up drive by an NBA 3-man? Can he hit the mid-range jumper?

There is his family situation with his son to think about as well, but I think Tyler’s going to be a Vol next season. He should have better shooters surrounding him, and we saw how good he can be when you put that around him (2007-08). And even if he does stay in the draft, it’d be cool to have the number of Tennessee NBA players doubled.

Speaking of which, mad props to C.J. Watson the last seven games of this season for Golden State. Watson, one of my favorite Vols all-time and a guy who deserves more credit and appreciation than I think he gets, averaged 19 points and 6 assists in those games. He had 38 points, 7 rebounds, and nine assists (he made 16-of-16 free throws too) in a win over the Jazz, and had 20 points, 7 boards, 12 assists, and three steals in the season finale against Phoenix.

For an avid fantasy basketball guy like myself (second place in my second year of it…boom!), those numbers are more impressive to me. If this was his chance to stake his claim to Golden State’s starting PG position for next season, you can’t say he didn’t take advantage of it.

The only VOL currently in the NBA, and one of my all-time faves

But back to the main point of this, expect to see Tyler back in orange next year – with what should be an improved team.

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

Images Courtesy of: Ramin Rahimian / Reuters

The Cost of Sports — Part 2: Jerry Maguire and Professional Sports

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

As I discussed in Part 1 of this series on the cost of sports, at Tennessee, the price can be high when it comes to paying your way into Neyland Stadium — a truth of which Nashville’s Thomas Luck is all too aware.  I discussed the issue purely in terms of the experience at Tennessee mainly because it is what I am familiar with.  Tennessee was but a lens — the reality is largely the same at all schools with a major athletics presence.

The world of professional sports, however, makes the college ranks look like small potatoes in the way it is wed to the almighty dollar.  Given the current uncertain economic times, however, I question whether professional sports in particular can continue in the way it has for so long.

I suppose that sports fans should not be surprised at the notion that professional teams would necessarily focus on money, after all that is what professional athletics are all about: getting paid to play.  I suppose Rod Tidwell (from the movie “Jerry Maguire) summed it up best with the oft quoted line “Show me the money!“  What I think is a bit surprising is how willingly and uncomplainingly professional sports fans have accepted the “money first” approach of all the teams in all the major leagues.  The increases in costs passed along to professional sports fans over the last generation is really quite staggering.

Video: Show me the Money!!

But don’t take my word for it…

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Peace Out, 2008

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

A List of Reminiscing…

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2008. Yes, I know, I’m asking “Already?!?” just you like may be doing. It seems like last month I was standing in Times Square in NYC for nine hours (without any food, drinks, or bathroom breaks) with five of my friends ringing in 2008. But here it is, the start of another year is less than 24 hours away.

My new logo

Now hopefully you have yet to bail on me because of that terribly mushy opening, and if you have I thank you. I’ll get to my little list of what I’ll most remember from the past year in sports in a minute, but first I need to say that I began this whole blogging thing back in June, when the looming monster of summer school was at my doorstep. When I started, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be blogging or any of that. I really enjoyed it at first, mostly the posts following the NBA Finals games and my amateur, yet rather extensive, coverage of the Rocky Top Summer League (yes, I skipped studying for tests and doing schoolwork to do those). However, at first I underestimated how much work blogging actually can be.

So when lawvol approached me (figuratively) about joining forces with him, it was a no-brainer. I have enjoyed writing here at the Gate and I just want to give some props to lawvol for having me on here and for helping me when I bug him about the simplest of issues. And of course thank you to yourselves, the readers (if you’re still actually reading this). Who knows if my blogging will actually help the journalism career I’m hoping for/working towards/trying to gain experience for, but I’ve certainly enjoyed it and I’m glad I decided to begin with it.

OK, enough of those little bits of business, now onto this little list. This will be a little different than the other two I’ve done, as in I’m writing this, I’m not limiting myself to what pops into my mind when I think back of the past year in sports. I was able to narrow my hatred for Alabama down to five and the hope of the Vols’ hoops season to 10, but this is a whole year we’re talking here. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. Anyways, here goes…

Thanks Coach

1) Good-bye and thank you Coach Fulmer: Well duh. The only Tennessee football coach I’ve pretty much ever known fell victim to a failed replacement of David Cutcliffe and the second losing season in the last four years. It’s been the toughest year as a Tennessee fan I have been a part of by far, but it ended very sweet with the home win over Kentucky.


2) Hello, Lane Kiffin: Fulmer’s replacement has me excited, and I know I ain’t the only one. Some are skeptical, but the Blackjack General (kudos, lawvol) has the fire that I think this program needs. He and his staff have plenty of work to do to return to the level of competing with Florida and the growing empire in Tuscaloosa, but so far, so good…


3) Being #1 for less than two days is still better than never being #1…: This goes way back to February, and the 66-62 #2-over-#1 win by Tennessee at Memphis. I had to cover/get audio for this game for the radio station sports show I was involved in last spring, and it was just fun to watch and see in person. That, and being in the middle of the aftermath right outside the locker room and on the FedEx Forum floor trying to be “professional” is undoubtedly a highlight of this past year.

4) 2008 SEC basketball champs: Need anything else be said? And to do it in Gainesville after getting blitzed in the first half was icing. I also covered that last home game against Carolina, so watching the whole net-cutting and t-shirt deal was a highlight.

5) Fan apathy: Honestly, this was probably the biggest factor to Fulmer’s firing. I have made my thoughts on the student attendance and the whole paying for tickets well known through this site (try this). This video (I wouldn’t dare actually post it) was the lowest point for me as a Tennessee fan in my life. I must admit, I left well before it, but I didn’t want to be a apart of that. I commend you if you did…

Thanks Chris and JaJuan

6) Chris Lofton: Seeing this guy get to play in person for two years was a treat. Talk about a role model, he had cancer, didn’t tell anyone for completely unselfish purposes, and still had a pretty good season and was an integral part of the SEC Title run for the Vols. I have his #5 jersey on my wall of my room in my apartment, and it will be hanging in TBA’s rafters soon enough.

7) JaJuan Smith, too: Walk-on to nearly making the Mavericks. The best part of watching Juanny the past two years of college was that he made it look so fun. From his rainbow threes to pestering defense and occasionaly bonehead turnover, I’ll never forget this guy and what he was to the Tennessee program.

Championship #8: I have to give Pat Summit and the Lady Vols some love. I never go to any of their games, but I do know they exist. That senior class dominated and Candace Parker, well, she’s just awesome.

9) Eric Berry: The dude is just a BAMF. My four years of college may be four of the worst in Tennessee history, but at least I got to see this guy play. Seriously, he was reason enough to watch as the awful 2008 season went down the toilet. His pick-six against Mississippi State might have been the craziest moment of the student section this past year (yeah, indicating how bad the season truly was…). List of guys he almost killed in 2008: Tyler Donovan, Taylor Embree, Knowshon Moreno, Marquis Maze, and that’s off the top of my head. If a team had 22 Eric Berrys, they would never lose. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll like playing in Monte Kiffin‘s defense enough to stay for his senior year…


10) Monte Kiffin: Sweet! Most respected defensive coordinator in the NFL? Yes please.

11) The Streak: Tennessee has now won 37 straight home games in Thompson-Boling Arena. A couple of teams nearly broke it (Ole Miss, Kentucky, Belmont), but it’s still going strong. I still have never left that arena having seen Tennessee lose. It was empty four years ago, now this streak. Could Gonzaga end it a week from tonight?

12) Construction: If you visited Knoxville this past year, you know what I mean. The stadium. Glocker. The Baker Center. Neyland. The TBA facelift. Lindsay Nelson. Heck, even I-40 has been closed since May…

13) Losses I witnessed in person: Louisville (Sweet 16 game in Charlotte), Florida, Auburn (nearly fell asleep in the third quarter), Alabama, Wyoming…

14) My love for the NBA: It gets a bad rap for the most part, but you can’t tell me you’re a true fan of the game of basketball and not like the NBA. Before this past season, I never really followed it other than the playoffs and the handful of Grizzlies games I saw in my high school days. Now, I just plain love it. These guys are ridiculous. I could watch LeBron James play every night. The Lakers-Celtics finals capped off an amazing playoffs and it’s shaking up to be a great season this year too.

15) Wyoming: I saw them beat Tennessee 13-7 in Knoxville. They were 1-7 in the Mountain West and fired their coach. Ouch…

16) UCLA: Kevin Craft is worse than me for Heisman! really wasn’t as good as we made him look. The beginning of the end…

17) This play:

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18) These dunks:

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19) Redeem Team Wins Gold: The highlight of the Beijing Olympics for me. Yes, I watched every minute of every one of their games. They were not going to be denied and watching these guys play together and with a serious sense of urgency was well worth it. Thank you, LeBron, D-Wade, Kobe, CP3, Bosh, Howard, Boozer, D-Will, Melo, Redd, Tayshaun, Coach K and staff.


20) The tornado that almost killed me: I’m getting lazy, so just click here. If you’re too lazy to do that, you’re worse than me I was in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Tournament when that tornado owned downtown Atlanta.

21) Michael Phelps: Second best part of the Olympics. The relay the U.S. stole from the trash-talking French and the race he won from nowhere had me up and yelling at the TV.

22) Scotty Hopson, Bobby Maze, Emmanuel Negedu, Renaldo Woolridge: They’re only going to get better…

23) This NFL season: I don’t get too pumped about pro football other than for fantasy purposes, but this was a fun season to watch. It came down to the end and I can honestly justify about six teams going all the way. Miami went from 1-15 to the playoffs and nobody’s laughing at the Falcons now. And those drama queens in Dallas are watching it all…

24) Jerod Mayo: Any time a Vol gets drafted in the Top 10…and then dominates as a rookie, I’m pumped…

25) Shaun Ellis: This was just plain funny…

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26) Tyler Smith and J.P. Prince: Two transfers are huge parts of Tennessee hoops in 2008 and going forward. Thanks to Tyler for his clutch makes against Ole Miss and Memphis State. This year’s team is his team, and it took Prince hurting himself to make us see how important he is to this team.

27) The Olympics: Yeah, they were about all I watched for that two week stretch this summer.

28) VolQuest/Rivals: I can’t lie, I have spent countless hours procrastinating and wasting time on the message boards. If you have done it too, you know their addictive powers…

29) Jonathan Crompton: Well, there’s not much to say, but most of the Tennessee fanbase thinks he’s the worst QB to ever wear orange. Hell, he couldn’t even hand the ball off against Florida and Auburn. The Auburn game might have been the worst game ever played by a QB – my goodness was it ugly. When he entered the South Carolina after Nick Stephens threw an awful pick-six, ESPN showed his stats for the year – he had thrown for 666 yards. Yikes. Yet, that pass to Denarius Moore against Kentucky…reason for hope? I mean, he’s got an equal chance of starting next year as the other QBs Tennessee has. I’m just saying…

30) And finally, Mario Chalmers: Tiger High/John Calipari = EPIC FAIL…

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Images Courtesy of: Michael Patrick / KNSMichael Patrick /

2008 Beijing Olympics: The Amateur and the Olympic Games

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

Olympic Coverage on Gate 21 Over the weekend I spent a fair amount of time watching the XXIX Olympic Games from Beijing — taking in all that comes along with the quadrennial rite that is the Olympics.  It was an excellent weekend of competition, celebration, and pageantry.

Bearing all of this in mind, I began to ask myself what is the Olympics “place” in the overall world of sports?  Many would say that the Olympic Games are the single most important competition in sports — the “ultimate” expression of athletic competition.  On the other hand, others would argue that the Olympics really aren’t about sports at all, representing the exercise of diplomacy through other means.  Finally, there are those who would — for various reasons ranging from the lack of their favorite sport from the games to a lack of interest in international competition — say that, while engaging, the Olympics are largely a second-tier sporting event focused more on “ancillary” sporting events.

For me, however, the Olympics hold a special place — if only because of the “amateur spirit” which they embody…

I do eagerly await the Olympics each time they roll around.  They are — for me — a sublime opportunity to view events and competitions that are far beyond the sports I normally have the opportunity to follow.  So too, there is something that is uniquely endearing in the pursuit of achievement in the name of ones homeland, where the accolade is far less tangible than that which accompanies success in modern “big time” sports.  That is the essence of amateur competition — not completely divorced from many of the reasons I so identify with college athletics as opposed to professional sports.

Of course, one can become a little to idealistic when it comes to the Olympics…

Gone are the days of “lily-white” amateurism from the Olympics as an ideal governing the competition between nations.  This was not only the mantra of the international Olympic movement during the first three-quarters of the 20th Century, but was tenaciously enforced by individuals such as Avery Brundage, who served as the President of the International Olympic Committee until 1972.

During that era, any “taint” of professionalism by an athlete would assuredly lead to banishment from the games for life, and could possibly lead to medals being stripped.  The stand of the IOC was clear: Any athlete competing in the Olympic Games must be an amateur.

Of course, things were not always as pure as the powers that be would suggest …

As anyone who witnessed any of the games held during the Cold War, the amateurism of some of the Eastern Bloc countries was perpetually in question.  Furthermore, at times the stance on amateurism often overshadowed the real purpose of the Olympic Games, and placed form over substance with only the individual athlete feeling the pain of the IOC’s censure.

Thus, perhaps, the “good old days” were not always as good as we have been led to believe…

Nonetheless, there is something that has been lost over the years as the Olympics seem to have moved farther and farther afield from the old amateur standards, to the point that — in all sports but boxing — professional players are welcomed.  With this transition came the advent of the so-called “Dream Teams,” peopled with superstar professional athletes from across the globe.  The thought of playing against the greatest that the NBA has to offer is a daunting and discouraging prospect for a team from a smaller country lacking a professional league or an established sports infrastructure.  Still, as the United States Olympic Basketball team learned in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, “David” still has a lot of stones in his sling when it comes to the “Goliaths” of the sports world.

Competition, however, is not always a fair fight, and, perhaps, that reality is part of what makes the Olympics special.  Perhaps it is the “against all odds” mentality or ethos which makes the Olympics beautiful as a spectacle of competition.

The Olympics are not about necessarily winning or losing, but about trying despite the odds…

For me, the single most poignant image of the Olympics is that of Gabriela Andersen-Scheiss completing the marathon in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  I still remember watching the then 39 year-old competitor for Switzerland come limping into Olympic Stadium — at least twenty minutes behind the winner — barely able to walk.  She had only to complete one lap around the stadium track to finish the race.  As she staggered from side to side, barely able to stand upright, she continued on.  Fearing that she might be suffering from heat stroke, several medical staff actually walked alongside her as she took a heart wrenching 5 minutes and 44 seconds to complete the circuit of the field, before collapsing across the finish line and receiving immediate medical care.

The pragmatist would say that it was foolish for Andersen-Scheiss to continue on when she was clearly suffering and had no hope of winning.  The utilitarian would undoubtedly conclude that she should stop, because the risk to her health far exceeded the benefit to be gained by completing the race.  Sometimes, it is not rational, it is not practical, it is not about winning or losing — it is about heart, determination, and finding what it takes to put one foot in front of the other to finish the journey you have begun.

Sometimes, it is simply a testament to the human spirit…

I suppose that is what still draws me to the Olympic Games.  In this regard, it is still a competition of amateurs, in some ways. For many athletes at the games, the competition is not one of professionals versus the amateurs.  It is not one of one country versus another.  It is not one of winner and loser.

In the Olympic Games — even today — for many athletes it is a competition between heart and head.  It is the battle between self and soul which brings competitors from far and wide who have not a single hope for victory.  They do it not to prove that they can beat any other athlete, break any records, or win any medals, but to simply prove that they can compete…

… and in this battle with self — the battle to find the will to press on — there are no professionals.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol

Image Courtesy of:

Why I am a College Sports Fan

No Pass Out Checks | Gate21

You hardly have to be a genius to realize that I am a college sports fan.

Whether I qualify as “die hard” is open to interpretation, I suppose. Still, as a VASF donor for more than a decade, season ticket holder for Tennessee Volunteers football, and as an individual who travels over six hours one-way to see each football game in Knoxville, I probably fall into the “dyed-in-the-wool” category placing me in the top tier of college fans when it comes to dedication (or lunacy depending on your perspective).

Either way, at various times in my life, I have contemplated becoming a more avid fan of professional sports. At times I have even been a “real” fan of certain teams by most standards. That being said, no matter what I do, I always seem to lose my interest in professional sports and return to my roots as a college football fan…

… or perhaps professional sports loses interest in me.

No, that last statement is not intended to be a wildly arrogant and self-centered declaration of my importance in the sports world. On the contrary, it is meant to show my complete insignificance — along with the millions of other sports fans out there.

Seattle SuperSonicsIn case you missed it, after forty-one years in the “City Which is Never Dry,” the Seattle Supersonics are pulling up stakes and heading to Oklahoma City to be known as the Oklahoma Clod-kickers, or something along those lines.

The era of the Supersonics is over…

Owing to the fact that I live on the Right-Coast and parted ways with the NBA in the mid-1990s, I was really not tuned into this story until after the final announcement was made. I make no claims to be a Supersonics fan, and can really only think of 2 Supersonics players ever: Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel (mainly because he choked Wes Mathews in the middle of a game which is the sort of thing I tend not to forget). Still, I feel for the Supersonics’ fans, and I assume that there are a fair number of them, whether they be “die hard” or not. While I know that Seattle may potentially get another team some day, as a practical matter they now understand how SMU fans felt when their team got the death penalty for football. The only difference is that, unlike SMU who was finally able to resume play, Seattle’s program is gone for good — gonzo, outta here, dead, kaput, snuffed it …

If I am a Seattle Supersonics fan, that just plain sucks…

That got me to thinking (which is so rarely a good thing). The fact that the Supersonics could up and vanish like a fart in the wind, is the reason why I personally will never be anything more than an occasional fan of professional sports. At so many levels, that disturbs me. It also brings back a few memories.

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