Entitled to Nothing

Your right to have what you want only goes so far.

The worst word in the English language these days has got to be "entitlement." Not "fiduciary"--that's the dirtiest-sounding word. Not "impact"--that's the most-misused word.

Entitlement: A word that used to mean the bestowing of a name or title, as in poet laureate or earl. (But not Duke of Earl, because that belongs to Gene Chandler.) Unfortunately, nowadays, entitlement has come to mean some kind of freebie to which people think they have some God-given right.

Well, you know what? You're not entitled to anything. You have certain freedoms, like those of speech and religion. You can gather with your homies and be reasonably certain that you're not going to get arrested for anything. You have the opportunities to go to school and work really hard, and maybe you might get ahead in the world. Those are your freedoms.

As for entitlements, you don't have any, and quit your damn beggin'.

Unfortunately, the entitlement whores are coming out of the woodwork these days. I see them on the news every day. Last week, it was graduate students at the University of Arizona insisting that the UA provide day care on campus. They had some woman on the news whining about how she and her husband can't afford to pay somebody to watch their kids while they both pursue advanced degrees. They're your kids! Take care of them!

How the hell are you going to be smart enough to be going for an advanced degree and not have enough sense to know that kids are going to cost you in either money or time? You can't have everything. Either get your degree and then have kids, or have kids and have one parent get an advanced degree and then trade off. You're not entitled to have somebody else watch your kids for you, and it sure isn't the university's responsibility. Life is full of tough choices.

Also at the UA is that teacher in the (ahem) Africana department. He's calling the UA Police Department racist, and people around him are talking lawsuit because he claims he was illegally detained on campus.

Dude, you're wearing a daishiki. That's got to be some kind of crime in 2003. Besides, be happy you get paid for doing what you do, whatever that happens to be.

Meanwhile, from Iowa State University comes the story of men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy. After his team lost a game at the University of Missouri earlier this year, Eustachy (who is 47 and married) showed up to a frat party and was photographed drinking and kissing the coeds. He also did it at Kansas State, where some guy almost beat him up because the coach had his arm around the guy's 18-year-old sister.

Let's all say it together: Eeeeewww!

As Iowa State officials considered firing him, Eustachy made a pre-emptive move by announcing that he's an alcoholic. He said it was the booze that made him act like a creep and a perv and that if the school tried to fire him, he'd fight it under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

This is the second time in the past couple weeks that somebody has come up with that crap, the first being that demoted Tucson police officer who reportedly showed up to work drunk.

Let's get this straight: If you drink too much, you've got a problem, maybe even an addiction. If you lost an arm in a tractor accident, you're disabled. See, you can stop drinking under the proper circumstances. But you can go to meetings and say, "Hi, I'm Larry" until you're 100 years old, and your arm is never going to grow back. That's a big difference, and you people with alcohol problems (and your sorry-ass lawyers) need to quit trying to lump the two together for selfish purposes.

Then, Eustachy gets up and says that he thinks he's entitled to a second chance. Americans are a forgiving people and if the fans and bosses in Iowa want to forgive him, fine. But he's not entitled to a second chance, and just by suggesting that blows it for him in my mind.

Finally, there's this guy who keeps sending me e-mails and letters all the time, wanting me to write about what he calls the College Athlete Bill of Rights. Basically, it's some bizarre campaign to have college athletes get paid like professionals. It's the same old bilge that we've heard a thousand times.

College athletes bring in millions of dollars for their schools. That's certainly true, but the money goes to fund lots of other sports that are important to a well-rounded athletic program but, for one reason or another, do not generate revenue. I'd hate it if my university only offered sports that made money.

After paying the rent for the apartment and the food bill, there isn't much money left for entertainment. Live in the dorm. You're a college student! Where does it say that you're entitled to live up on Sunrise or at Starr Pass? Sean Elliott was the greatest athlete in the history of the UA. He lived in a crappy little dorm room back behind McDonald's on Speedway Boulevard and drove a beat-up old car. He never complained and never took anything for free. When you get to be as good and as important to the university as he was, then you can talk about getting paid. And you'll still be wrong!

College athletes have to work hard; there's no doubt. But the benefits are enormous and the opportunity to get a free college education is priceless. Just ask the average student if he would trade places with the average college athlete, and 999 out of 1,000 would do so in a heartbeat. Now ask any athlete if he would make the same swap and the answer would be, "Oh, hell no!"

You want an Athlete's Bill of Rights? You have the right to hit on women who would be way out of your league if you weren't able to run, throw or hit. You have the right to major in family studies. And apparently, you have the right to drive cars that most tenured professors couldn't afford.

Now, quit yer bitchin' and go play.

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