There oughta be a law (or at least a rule) ...
• Back when Morris King Udall represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives, he considered proposing a bill that would have made it illegal for Major League Baseball to televise playoff games on Friday nights during high-school football season. Udall was heated that baseball was infringing on an American institution. He felt that Congress could put the squeeze on the antitrust exemption that MLB enjoys.
Like colleges, high schools get a significant amount of the revenue generated by sports from the handful of home football games that are played in the autumn. Greedy-ass baseball should have been sensitive to the situation, but they pretty much haven't gotten anything right since Jackie Robinson.
Nothing ever came of Udall's idea, but that's OK because the problem mostly fixed itself. Baseball sucks and hardly anybody watches it on TV anymore.
But now, there is something even more insidious (and quite inexplicable) at play. College football is intruding on the once-sacred Friday night and for no reason other than to scrape up a few more pennies. The UA opened against NAU on a Friday; I boycotted the game.
Forgetting for a moment about the damage being done to high schools around the country, just look what college football is doing to itself, selling out to the pimps of TV. College football has traditions that go back more than a century: bonfires and tailgate parties, rivalry games played on autumn afternoons with a crispness in the air. Even the über-powerful National Football League can't match the tradition and glory of the college game.
College games are now being played on Thursdays and (ugh!) Tuesdays, but that's just hos bein' hos. Friday should be off-limits. Thanks to knuckleheaded state legislatures across the country, high schools everywhere are hurting. They need every dollar they can get. The NCAA should have enough collective sense to realize that high schools are its feeder system and perhaps deserving of a little respect.
After the NAU game, Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen lamented that the few thousand people who went to see Sabino High play at Salpointe that same night may have prevented the UA from having a sellout crowd. I contend that the 53,000 who showed up at Arizona Stadium could have better served their community by attending a high-school game that night and demanding that the UA pressure the NCAA into not playing football games on Friday nights.
When UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne becomes Master of All Things Sports, I expect this to be one of his top priorities.
• You know how some countries have actual laws governing what parents can and cannot name their kids? I've always thought that was a bit extreme, but after hearing about Hitler and Aryan Nation, I'm softening to the idea.
I read about a bureaucratic blunder at a local charter school that resulted in a kid being reported missing even though she was in her classroom the entire time. The poor kid's name is Paisley. Who does that to a kid? Do you realize that if those parents have more kids, in order to keep Paisley from feeling totally weirded out, they'll have to complete the theme and name the kids Polka Dots and Stripes?
• Do you ever find yourself watching the news on TV and screaming at the "reporter" to ask that one, big question? I understand that when it comes to TV news, the pretty faces (and the women) on screen are just as likely to have come from fashion school as journalism school. But isn't there somebody, somewhere, up the chain who can nudge them in the right direction and tell them to do something other than just reading the handout?
I was watching a report about the Sahuaro High School principal, Chris Bonn, who allegedly laid a whuppin' on his stepdaughter's boyfriend. As the story goes, the girl had snuck out of the house to be with her boyfriend. After Bonn discovered that she wasn't in her room, he stayed up to wait for her to return. The young couple rolled back into the neighborhood around 4 a.m. and parked down the street from her house.
Bonn, who told police that the boyfriend had "brandished" a gun during an earlier confrontation, waited about 20 minutes, then walked down the street and pulled the driver's side door open. Bonn claims that the young man made a quick move, as though reaching for something, after which Bonn struck him several times in the face.
I'm watching this on TV. They show the kid's injuries and they're pretty extensive. They interview the kid's parents, who are understandably upset. Like every other person in Southern Arizona who is watching that report, I'm waiting for at least one of the two really obvious questions to be asked. As in, "Sooooo, you're not at least a little bit concerned about what your 16-year-old son is doing out at 4 in the morning?"
Some might consider that to be too personal. (I don't.) The other question, however, absolutely must be asked. "Does your son own, or have access to, a gun?" (If the response is "yes" or "no comment," the next question is, "Does he drive around with the gun in his car?") That's rather significant. How could they not ask that question?