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Sports Watching & Wondering

Black news from Pasadena - Sports - Sports Watching and Wondering commentary on shoes, USC, UCLA and moreSHOES - Nike will be introducing the new LeBron James shoes. They will cost more than $300.00 per pair. They will include electronics, so that the Wearer can determine how high they jumped. For that amount of money, they could probably also include a Cell Phone, Camera, GPS, Range Finder, Mirror, Shaving Kit, Toothbrush, Bow and Arrow, and a Sword.

Reading the article reminds me of the time that I drove my son to the Mall. He was going to pick up a new pair of Nike's. I had bored him to death by constantly telling him that we had paid 98 cents for our tennis shoes, when we lived in Texas. I did not actually begrudge him the shoes, since I felt that his had to be the same as his buddies were wearing. He was exceptionally intelligent, but he was also wary. His mother had given him the money, and I was just the chauffeur. I asked him how much the new shoes would cost, and he said, "Respectfully Dad, you do not want to know." When we got to the Mall, he politely asked me if I would wait in the car, while he bought the shoes. I did and he did.

USC - The football team is now rated Number One in the entire country. As a diehard Trojan Alumnus, it pains me to say that I rank them at Number Five. They do have a superb team, and Coach Kiffin deserves the credit for his coaching and recruiting skills.

The Trojans have the dilemma of trying to be the best football team in the country, while also winning the Heisman Trophy for Matt Barkley. This gives them a built-in conflict of interest. If the Trojans become a pass oriented team, it means that they are more likely to suffer an upset loss. Then, the team cannot be declared the National Collegiate Champions.

If the Trojans become a one-dimensional passing team, then they are likely to lose to either Notre Dame, Stanford, and/or Oregon. Barkley is a great collegiate quarterback, and I hope that he does win the Heisman Trophy, but not at the expense of a balanced running attack.

It is a great honor to receive that Trophy, since it signifies that the recipient is the best college football player for that year. Many football players from USC have won that award. In earlier times, it went to running backs like Garrett, Simpson, Allen, and Bush. Then the quarterbacks started to win them. First, there was Carson Palmer, and then Matt Leinart. Now, the school is making a big push to get it for Barkley.

All things being considered, Barkley will probably win it. However, this does not mean that he will become a big star in the NFL. He is a great athlete, but he is only about 6'2" tall. He does not have a powerful arm, and his foot speed is just average. In many ways, he is a right-handed version of Matt Leinart. There were many people, who felt that Leinart would be a superstar in the NFL. I was not one of them.

However, I am not right all of the time. I was absolutely certain that John David Booty was going to become a great NFL quarterback, and it turns out that he never even became a starter.

UCLA - Head Football Coach Jim Mora took the team to Cal State San Bernardino for a two-week training camp. According to reports, none of the Players got heatstroke or died, although many of them required on the spot medical treatment. It seems that Mora was copying the antics of legendary Coach Bear Bryant. Early in his career, when he was coaching in Texas, he took his players to what was actually a concentration camp. He conducted brutal workouts, and some of the Players were hospitalized with serious injuries. However, the survivors played better than they ever had before.

While the UCLA Players may have suffered, I did not see any reports that any of them had been hospitalized. I think that both UCLA and Coach Mora are fortunate that none of the players were hospitalized, or seriously injured. The lawsuits against the school would have been enormous. This is an area where the NCAA should establish some limits, as to the kind of training that coaches can do to their Players.

As for Coach Mora, almost everything that I read about him mentions his proclivity for profanity. It is discussed almost as if it is one of his talents. I have read someplace that Coaches are Members of the Faculty, and Representatives of Institutions of Higher Learning. If that is the case, then he should not be allowed to swear at the Players. Do any Members of UCLA's Faculty swear at him?

If he is continuously swearing at his Players, then some of them may use him as a Role Model, and swear at their acquaintances. Such behavior will not help them in their careers. So, Coach Mora should be stopped, before he can do any more damage.

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