Let This Be A Lesson To Student-Workers

March 31, 2009

This kid would be so fired if he worked for me.

A St. John’s athletics communications student intern is a Phillies fan, and decided to wear a Phillies jacket to the SJU-Georgetown game at the Mets new stadium.

The Mets weren’t pleased. A Mets employee told him to remove the jacket. He refused. It was cold and rainy.

One of his superiors at St. John’s reminded him they were guests of the Mets, brought him a St. John’s jacket to wear instead, and he refused to remove the Phillies jacket. He was then escorted out of the stadium (and then went home to whine about it to a Phillies’ blog).

This behavior isn’t acceptable. And it’s not because I’m a Mets fan.

If one of my students came to work one of our football games at the Superdome in a Falcons jacket, we’d make them take it off.

If one of my students came to work one of our basketball games at NO Arena in a Spurs shirt, we’d make them change.

If one of my students came to work one of our baseball games at Zephyr Field in an Alburqueque Isotopes hat, we’d make them take it off.

ANY team that competes with the home team, the gear is not acceptable. It’s either your school, the home venue’s team, or no team logos at all.

The reason is: These people are doing your school a favor by letting you play at a their venue. Therefore, the Mets Staff and St John’s staff are essentially the same for that day. If a Mets employee wore Georgetown gear, he’d be reprimanded as well.  No Superdome, New Orleans Arena or Zephyr Field employee is going to wear LSU gear, or another college teams’ gear to our game at their venue either (probably because we’d make them change and give them a new piece of clothing if necessary).

The fact that the kids’ boss offered him a St. John’s jacket and he refused to remove the Phillies jacket shows not only bad judgment, but extreme stupidity, since he could have nabbed a free Red Storm jacket.

Don’t Judge Me

March 31, 2009

I had my car inspected by the lease holder today; basically to determine how well I took care of the car. And it’s a horrendous experience.

First off, consider the social skills of a guy who’s job it is to look for tiny dents in vehicles all day. He looked , about like you would expect him to look: Kind of like Mario from Super Mario Brothers. Although carrying a clipboard and incapable of jumping.

Due to the lack of social skills, they offer no feedback what so ever. Just look, jot, take a picture, jot some more, all the way around the car and then inside.

OFFER ME SOMETHING HERE! Say “Damn, that’s going to cost you” or “wow, you’re trunk’s surprisingly clean!” something. Anything.

Basically you can sense them critiquing you as a person while doing their silent inspection. And there’s no way to defend yourself. It’s not like the dentist’s office, where you can lie about brushing your teeth six times a day.

I just wanted to yell “Don’t judge me! Let’s see YOUR car. That Mitsubishi you rolled up in is a dirty piece of crap!”

Also, it might not have helped me when I opened the glove compartment and found my flask sitting inside.

Severe Weather, Bad Graphics

March 28, 2009

In my 24 years of watching the NCAA Tournament, I’ve never made it through all 10 days (four the first weekend, four the second weekend, Saturday and Monday the third weekend), without seeing severe weather alerts from the local affiliates for some reason.

The local affiliate ALWAYS puts horrible looking weather graphics over the the screen, advising about thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash flooding, something. (And these graphics are always horribly obtrusive, totally ruining your viewing experience).

In the five cities I’ve live in, it seems it doesn’t matter where you are: There’s always a watch or warning on one of those 10 days.

I posted this on the Mets message board I frequent (don’t judge me) on their NCAA page. My last line said:

In Hawai’i, do they put up “Gorgeousness watch until 9 p.m.” ?

And someone replied with this greatness:

When I lived there last year, the alerts were for high winds and “VOG”
VOG is what the locals call the gases released by the volcanos on the big island. People actually called into work sick saying they “had the VOG”

So, no matter where you live, there will always be severe weather during the NCAA Tournament

Career Assessment: Jobs in College Athletics

March 27, 2009

I love working in sports. But sometimes I have to ask myself if I’m in the right field. Especially on occasions when virtually all the other areas of college athletics pack up shop and go boozing after a game, and I’m stuck still working.

So let’s break it down. Best job in college athletics:

Academic Services
Register kids for classes, get them tudors, make sure they are graduating, help them in tiffs with professors, get them out of class for road trips.
Job security: Solid, unless too many student athletes screw up.
Pros: 9-5, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, homework, dealing with whining students. Some athletes are borderline retarded.

This would not be a good move unless I was currently working as a high school guidance counselor. For them, it’s gotta be like the big leagues.

Business Office
Pay bills, handle budgets, reimburse people
Job security: Solid, unless too many people go over budget.
Pros: 9-5 hours, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, lots of paperwork, confusing paperwork, dealing with whining and irresponsible employees.

No way. I hate doing any kind of paperwork and I never save receipts. Filing and me are not friends.

Make sure coaches are obeying the rules, make sure student athletes are obeying the rules. Getting kids admitted to school
Dealing with financial aid stuff. Say “No” a lot. Be the fun police.
Job security: Solid, unless people break the rules
Pros: 9-5 hours, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, paperwork, dealing with whining coaches, have to know all kinds of stupid rules. Have to say “no” a lot.

Oddly, I could handle the rules part. I could memorize a lot of stupid rules and tell people what they can and can’t do. I could problem solve and find a way to accomplish the goal while obeying the rule. But the financial aid crap would just kill me.

Buying gear, issuing equipment, doing laundry, setting up and running football practice equipment. Buying stuff.
Job security: Very solid, but you’d want to quit first
Pros: Lots of free gear. Little office time.
Cons: Business side of budgeting purchases. Dealing with kids losing/wanting stuff. Really horrible hours, washing clothes all the time, intimate knowledge of student-athlete B.O.

I know what these guys go through daily and I’d want no part of it. Sure, the fringe benefit of free gear is awesome. You know what’s not awesome? Folding thousands of towels a week, touching clothes that reek of taint sweat and getting stains out of practice gear after female athletes get a monthly visitor.

Facility/Event Management/Operations
Setting up arenas, fixing broken things in the arena, getting facilities ready for game/practice, scheduling game-day workers
Job security: Very solid, but you’d want to quit first
Pros: Very little
Cons: Horrible hours, working all events, doing scheduling/budgeting paperwork. If your facility sucks, you have to do the impossible. Cleaning dirty venues.

Lots of heavy lifting and lots of cleaning.  Sure, you stand in the corner during games, right next to the action. But there’s also all the times you have to squeegee tennis court. And when someone’s kid vomits on the concourse, guess who’s grabbing the mop?

Strength & Conditioning
Getting student-athletes strong and agile for competition.
Job security: Not bad, but a coach will have serious influence. Injuries/weak play could harm you.
Pros: Get some gear, free Gatorade, free gym membership. Closer to 9-5 hours, watch games like fan.
Cons: dealing with whining athletes. Smelling sweat all day.

While I’d have the opportunity to get huge, we all know I wouldn’t. Plus you have to know all kinds of stuff about muscles and crap. Plus I’d probably get diabetes from drinking Gatorade all day.

Recruit athletes, train athletes, game plan for opponents, try to win, have to do media.
Job Security: You don’t win you can get fired.
Pros: Gear, thrill of game day/winning, higher salaries.
Cons: long hours, budgets, convincing recruits to come here, trusting your well-being to college kids (worse with girls).

Awesome if you’re winning. Sucks if you’re losing. And you’re trusting your livelihood to a bunch of immature college kids who might not be as dedicated as you. (Multiply the stupidity of that times 1000 if you’re coaching a women’s team).

Director of Operations
Handle road trip travel, get film for coaches, manage practice schedules, be bitch of coaches.
Job Security: Pretty good compared to coaches
Pros: Gear, possibly sit on bench during games.
Cons: Hours, bitch of coaches, thankless chores no one else on staff wants to do, contracts, paperwork and budget crap.

Glorified manager/secretary. The key phrase is “be the bitch of coaches.”

Fund Raising
Raise money for athletic department, hobnob with the rich.
Job Security: High, unless you’re well short of financial goals without an excuse or caught embezzling.
Pros: 9-5 hours plus most events involve booze, hobnobbing with rich, can watch games like fan
Cons: Sounds like work, asking people for money, getting told to raise more money, badgering people for money.
Need to wear a tie a lot. Have to go to events you might not want to go to. Donors calling you with stupid requests. Lots of meetings

I’m not a good mingler, although I’m better in a sports environment. But there’s no way I could raise the money to build all the stuff I’d want to build. My tactics of getting people to donate would consist of peer pressure and the phrase “c’monnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.”

A lot like fundraising, only with more decisions. Work with marketing to trying make athletics an economic success
Job Security: High, unless you’re well short of financial goals without an excuse or caught embezzling.
Pros: 9-5 hours, plus events involve booze, hobnobbing with rich, can watch games like fan. You get all the free stuff athletics hands out.
Cons: Way too many meetings, Have to ruin fun of athletics often, stupid fundraising events. Donors calling you with stupid requests.

Could be in my wheelhouse if I was solely on the creative side and could order people to make my dreams a reality. But the meetings and office politics would be my downfall. I could wear a tie, but acting all professional would really suck.

Sports Medicine
Go to practice, provide medical treatment for injuries, make Gatorade for practice games, deal with anyone coming in with a boo-boo, sickness.
Job Security: Very good
Pros: Spot on bench for games, part of team, free Gatorade and medical supplies. Lots of time off in summer.
Cons: Ridiculous long hours before and after games, Insurance paperwork, setting up doctor’s appointments, whining athletes. Too much knowledge of intimate details of athletes-coworkers, dealing with sweaty/smelly athletes. Hosting visiting teams (more boring hours)

Considering I’d have to have medical training and I got a D in biology, this would never be an option. Plus there’s a lot of taping of stinky feet, and I hear that stretching out female athletes can give you a whiff of even worse odors.

Film games/practices for coaches, cut and edit clips for football coaches, assist with tech issues for whole building, make cool videos for jumbotron/website, acquire film on opponents. Set up football meeting rooms for film
Job Security: Pretty high.
Pros: Better hours than sports info. Some goof off time. Use of technology for personal gain.
Cons: Stuff breaks, having to film rainy, hot, or cold practices, more stuff breaks, coaches think you can do everything in two minutes. Have to help people with anything tech related. Marketing always wants you to do stuff even though you’re understaffed and need to just take care of coaches.

I’ve seen how these guys are treated, and there’s simply not enough time in the day to do everything you’d want to do in this position. Plus the burden of coaches wanting the impossible and having to explain technical things to those less intelligent than you can be extremely tiresome. Good opportunity to play video games and watch sports during the day, though.

Try to get people to come to games, try to get sponsors to give money, run in game promotions.
Job Security: Fantastic.
Pros: Hours are great compared to sports info. No quantifiable measure if you’re incompetent. Free stuff. Use of creativity.
Cons: Meddling from everyone who thinks they know how to market, dealing with fans and people bitching about the music. Lots of stupid meetings

I could never go to the dark side. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘our marketing department is awesome.’ No matter what you do, people would always meddle in your business. Too many stupid things to do, too many meetings, too much ‘busy work.’ Most awesome ideas are not feasible. Everyone complains about music. I’d probably end up mailing it in and working as little as possible if I was in marketing. Then again, I could probably get away with it.

Sports Info
Make media guides, write on website, keep stats.
Job security: high.
Pro: Free gear, internet time, road trips get you out of the office, comfy seat at games.
Cons: long hours, people asking you to do stuff like jumbotron, website, camp brochures, etc. Media guide deadlines. Some meetings.

I get the best of a lot of worlds here. The hours suck, but I have a great seat, free gear, can use the internet all day. I write about sports for a living. We go on road trips. I don’t have to go to all the practices and can sleep in late a lot. Busy as hell post-game, but experience the joy of winning and feel like part of the team. Plus, with my communications degree and with newspapers a dying medium, this is still the gig for me… until Supreme Dictator of Sports becomes available.

Not Awesome

March 26, 2009

You know what’s not awesome? Having a door hit your wrist while carrying a full coffee mug and completely ruining your very light colored khaki pants… at 9:15 in the morning.

Quit looking at my crotch.
Quit looking at my crotch.

It’s fantastic.  An entire day of “What the heck happened to your pants?”

Although, I did get a nice “compliment” when one of our coaches asked what happened, leading to my actual discovery of the mess (I didn’t notice it hit my pants, I just thought I had a wet thumb). I replied “Oh, spilled some coffee, I guess.”

She said: “That’s a total guy response. A girl would be freaking out and running home to change. Doesn’t phase a guy. ‘Oh, coffee.’ You going to walk around all day like that?”

Well, if it was socially acceptable, I’d just hang out all day in my boxers. Then again, if I could, I’d do that regardless of spillage.

I think I’ll go change… solely because I forgot to bring my lunch this morning and I have cold cuts in the fridge.

Big Time Problems

March 25, 2009

I watched the movie “Big” last night. And I decided they need to do a remake of the movie Big, because in real life that chick bails on Josh after three weeks because he isn’t trying to have sex with her and she read about that in “He’s Just Not That Into You” and cut bait.

The other concerning thing is that he wouldn’t be able to use his name to get a job as an adult, because the 19 thousand cable news networks would be talking about his disappearance on TV every night. Including that really annoying one who looks like she’s going to cry. And his mom would be accused of all kinds of sick things by talking heads who really should be losing their jobs instead of newspaper people.

Come to think of it, the whole movie is one giant plot hole…

The toy company has two execs disappear… wouldn’t they report them missing? And then the cops will have a missing persons report on Josh Baskin, 30-year old toy exec open the day the missing person report on 13-year old Josh Baskin gets “closed” when the kid magically shows up (and of course has absolutely zero story for where he was that makes an ounce of sense. The police would know he was lying).

His biological father, assuming he’s alive, would be convicted in a court of public opinion on the cable news shows, mercilessly questioned by the police, and probably indicted for fraud once the toy company assumes the guy they had working for him was really Mr. Baskin and not a 13-year old.

Pretty much everyone’s life is ruined. Except for Susan, who’d have a second chance to be 13 and could really dominate life knowing at age 13 what she knows at 30… well, except that she’s homeless & parent-less.

I gotta stop watching movies from my childhood. This is almost as bad as realizing Field of Dreams was pure fiction because if Terrence Mann existed, he’d have gone balastic about even heaven being run by racist crackers, since there were no black people in the cornfield diamond.

Speaking of retro entertainment, though: Winnie Cooper got married, and her maid of honor was… Becky Slater.

Re-Entering Society

March 23, 2009

After well over 125 games in the last 10 days, I think I’m ready to put down the bracket and re-enter society.

Really, aside from being a basketball fan, there hasn’t been much going on in my life of late. Just work, and I skipped out on that Friday to watch the Dayton game.

One of the most interesting parts of watching the NCAA tournament at a bar is that everyone in the place is rooting for different teams, based on who they actually root for, and who they picked in their bracket.

Then you have the people just rooting for upsets, chaos, and Cinderella (I would be included there).

And finally, you have the group of fans who are simply rooting against the team that the loud group of jerks in the bar are rooting for. Just out of spite. Always a great dynamic.

Anyhow, after seeing some of the same people at the same bar three times in four days, the first and second rounds are over. And I can resume my boring life of making over-intellectualized comments on worthless and mundane things. Well, except that I’ll be singing One Shining Moment for another four weeks.

Four Days of CBS

March 19, 2009

It bugs the crap out of me that CBS can be close to getting it, but fail during the NCAA Tournament.

Example: Regional TV coverage where you get one of three/four games going on simultaneously? Not awesome.

Last Saturday, there were 19 college basketball games and 18 were on TV*. With my remote, I could pick which one I want to watch. Regional coverage… I’m boned. I can only watch CBS local, and one game at a time online. When there are 2/3 games.

You have CBS College Sports… show a freaking game on it.

More customers would demand CBS College Sports in there area if they found that one of the games was on CBS College Sports.

March Madness On Demand: Watch any game of the tournament live. This is awesome. The Boss Button on it used to be awesome. Now, not so much.

*-Winston-Salem State vs NC Central, two five-win independants, playing for nothing wasn’t on.

And We’re Back: Thoughts over Actions

March 16, 2009

I read something jarring, about how global communications will take away new thought. To paraphrase: “Connecting everyone will no longer lead to people having new ideas. It will just be people commentating in real time on what they see.”

Because it’s true, there’s nothing really earth shatting about that. Except it was written by Michael Crichton in The Lost World and published in 1996.

That’s why I don’t like Facebook, think Twitter is stupid, and find most the internet worthless. A lot of people seem to think people care what they are doing.


I don’t DO anything. Why whem my mom calls and asks “so what’s new with you?” once every three weeks, I say “nothing.” She can’t believe that’s true. It is. No one does anything.

All I do from October to March is work and watch college basketball.

The last four days, that’s all I wrote about here. And no one cared! A website is only as good as the ideas and thoughts its putting forth. They need to be intelligent, or really freaking funny in order for anyone to care. People don’t want an itinery for your day, people read website for humor or quality thoughts/ideas. (Working on it. It’s tough to be brilliant).

Along these lines, I was listening to a Bill Simmons podcast with Chuck Klosterman about the fall of newspapers, and how they failed to adapt to the internet, despite having unlimited space online to write longer, well thought out pieces that cannot be provided in the other media (print/radio/TV). It baffles me that as newspapers endure a financial crisis (Craigslist, Monster-like websites killed classified revenue streams), they’ve cut local coverage. Their niche is definitely local news and sports people cannot get anywhere else.

It seems like the most crucial aspect of newspapers/local TV is embracing new media, finding revenue streams from it, and out-lasting local competitors. The big thing that’s hurt newspapers is that no one is going to buy news when they get it online for free, and internet costs roughly the same amount per year as a printed paper subscription. The way to go for a newspaper would be to team up with a local TV, provide print stories and video from the TV network free of charge, and have the best website among the local outlets, with a heavy emphasis on local news/sports. Link to the affiliate website for national news via RSS feeds.

And feature my website as a columnist.

Oh the Hypocricy!

March 16, 2009

So I’m looking around NCAA.com, and I see this. THIS is NCAA.com’s official  bracket challenge:

NCAA.com's OFFICIAL Bracket Challenge

NCAA.com's OFFICIAL Bracket Challenge

And THIS is the NCAA’s official NCAA Tournament Bracket, direct from the home office in Indianapolis, distributed to those in the NCAA and at host sites:

I know people, okay?

I know people, okay?

Now, that’s a small picture. Look a little closer… right… THERE:

What's THAT say?

What's THAT say?

Let’s zoom in.

The fine print

The fine print

“The NCAA opposes all sports wagering. This bracket should not be used for sweepstakes, contests, office pools or other gambling activities.

uh… Except Ours!

The NCAA.com bracket challenge is actually a pre-tournament challenge to see if you can correctly guess what the bracket will be, and not a bracket challenge to see who advances through the NCAA issued bracket. But in order to do this challenge, you’re essentially running a pool on who advances through the REGULAR SEASON and Conference tournaments, aren’t you? How is this NCAA-run own sweepstakes/contest okay, and a sweepstakes for who advances through the NCAA Tournament bracket not okay?