Friday, April 9, 2010

An Apology From Tiger Woods

I don't care about Tiger Woods. I don't care about his infidelities. I like golf, kind of. I think he's a great golfer and a hard working athlete, but question how well he'd do with the much stronger field faced by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold palmer, and Nick Trevino. Just like Michael Jordan dominated an NBA diluted by expansion and not yet flooded by great foreign talent, Woods' role in golf history will always be debated.

I don't care about his infidelities, I just don't. His wife is having a hard emotional time, but not as bad as some women trying to raise children suddenly on a single income. His wife will pull through one way or another. Until Obama takes her money, she'll live pretty comfortably. I really don't feel sorry for the women he hooked up with. I actually heard people in the media saying he owed them an apology. Why? They don't deserve anything from him. He already gave them the notoriety they craved. A reason to make money off of interviews and books.

Tiger Woods does not owe me anything.

Contrast that with a politician. If a politician poses with his wife and children while campaigning, he creates an image I buy into. I feel that he and I share something in common and that he understands my issues. I might vote for him based upon that common ground, at least in part. If he then throws that away by sleeping with seventeen women and I voted for him, I might want an apology. A person's personal life is their own and they can do as they please. But don't sell me on the idea that you are a family man if you are not. Don't send out pictures with your wife and kids, don't pose with them on photo ops. If you do that and I vote for you, you have defrauded me in a sense. I can't take my vote back. A real apology will be the only thing I can get from you. I am speaking in general, although the Governor of South Carolina is the politician most on my mind as I write. I'm not thinking of anyone in this state or region.

But Tiger Woods? I never asked for anything from him. He never asked anything from me. Woods offers stuff for sale, he doesn't offer a vision of anything except swinging a stick at a ball.

I don't expect, need, or want an apology from him. The only people he owes anything to is his wife and children. And he owes them a lot. He does not owe the media, golf fans, or anyone else anything at all.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Class Act: Governor Joe Manchin

The greatest test of leadership often comes from times that one wishes would never happen at all. How a man or woman reacts, makes decisions, and engages with the people demonstrates the kind of leader he is. George W. Bush in September of 2001 could not have performed better. In our state, Governor Joe Manchin has once again shown that he can rise beyond his office and lead in difficult times.

I watched him in a nationally broadcast press conference yesterday. He did not look like a governor and I mean that as a compliment. That means that he was not trying to use the situation as a platform for himself. He allowed the experts to speak first. Then when it was his turn, he carefully explained what the state and company were trying to do to rescue the four who may still live deep within the mine. Manchin's manner and tone came across as a human being with knowledge of the situation and compassion for those involved.

Manchin's activity and involvement are reminiscent of another governor who understood how to approach a crisis. Governor Arch Moore during the flood of 1985, as many around here remember, actively worked to ascertain the needs of this region's communities, appear in person to reassure the victims, then work with the Reagan Administration to get aid in quickly.

This is what state governors are supposed to do. They take the lead in a crisis, they make decisions about how to react, and they do not wait for federal leadership on an issue. Governor Joe Manchin in this instance has done as his supporters expected and should be praised from all sides for his role during this disaster.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time For Race to Take a Backseat In American Political Discussion

Race this past week once again surfaced in politics. Left wingers accused black conservatives of race treason while RNC chief Michael Steele stated that his skin color gave him less of a margin for error than other political chiefs.

Both statements are baloney.

First comes the idea that anyone can be a traitor to their race for holding a different point of view. Who says these types of things outside of Nazis and the corporate culture of what used to be a civil rights movement?

Michael Steele himself was subject to having oreo cookies thrown at him by radical blacks who accused him of not being true to his race. Increasingly blacks are moving towards the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement in particular. They are running for office and establishing conservative blogs. Increasing participation from different populations has changed the face of the Republican Party. This invites a backlash from race baiters such as Chris Matthews of MSNBC, an unholy combination of Obama lackey and a man who preaches black political conformity.

No one should conform to anything on the basis of skin color alone. That defies the dreams of men such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. The goal of civil rights was race blindness, not political apartheid.

Small government, limited spending, and lower taxes attract support regardless of color. Those that believe that people ought to keep more of what they earn are not restricted by race, ethnicity, creed, or sexual orientation.

At the same time it is important for Steele and others to remember that in this very important election year, it is important to run a tight ship. Erratic statements and proposals distract from the message and perpetuate the image that the GOP is out of touch, not the Democrats. No one would enjoy much margin of error this year and it has nothing to do with race.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prayers For Victims of Explosion

We would like to offer our sympathy and prayers for the miners and families stricken by yesterday's disaster in southern West Virginia.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nice Guys, Players, and Coaches

On the way home from a tournament in Pittsburgh Saturday evening, I was talking to a couple of our 6th grade travel team's players in the backseat. We were talking about Bobby Huggins and his reputation for not always being the nicest guy in coaching. One of the players responded that people who are nice all of the time don't make great coaches. It's true. Sometimes a great coach has to play mind games. Sometimes they have to be gruff and abrasive. However that alone will not get those players to run through a wall for you. They have to know that behind the occasional yelling that the coach cares, not just about winning, not just about basketball, but about the player as a person.

Bobby Huggins' team did not beat Duke the other night. They came out slightly flat, lacking the emotion that helped them win so many games against the best teams in the country. Duke shot the ball better than they had all season long. However, Huggins and his team emerged from the floor winners in a different way.

West Virginia's basketball team has a bond with themselves and their coach that will last a lifetime. Love, commitment, passion, teamwork pervades this team and it flows from the man that patiently worked to bring them together. When star guard Da'Sean Butler hit the floor with a knee injury, ending his team's chance at a national title, we saw the growling coach grasp his stricken player by the head and hand and talk him through the crushing sorrow evident all over Butler's face.

Huggins had to do this once before. At Cincinnati, star player Kenyon Martin's injury ended a run at the national title. Huggins talks occasionally about that player being upset over letting his team down. Emotion fills the coach's voice when he speaks of that incident.

Huggins talks about being special. Definitely getting to the Final Four is special. The adoration of fans who will remember every name on this team forever is special. Even more special is the personal bond between coach and player and the players with each other. As the disappointment fades, the bonds remain cemented in place forever.

We saw Saturday night why Bobby Huggins is a great coach. Beyond the screaming and the scheming is a human being that cares about his players, a figure cared about by the young men he leads. Plenty of nice guys are out there that are very pleasant to be around, but neither feel nor inspire a great depth of emotion from most people. Huggins has legions that admire and despise him. Those who dislike him need to revisit that minute or two when the coach guided his young star emotionally before helping him off the floor.