Friday, March 23, 2007
Tubby Smith was 10 for 10 in NCAA Tournament appearances, four Elite 8 spots and a 1998 national championship, but in hoops crazy Kentucky, it was not enough. Smith was not fired, but certainly the lofty perhaps unrealistic expectations in Lexington were enough to get Tubby to pack his bags and head to the Big Ten and Minnesota. I wonder the sense of relief Tubby feels for leaving the pressure cooker of Kentucky basketball and heading to a kinder, friendlier domain in the Midwest. In the midst of these thoughts, I got some serious perspective that while we take our sports in America quite seriously, we do not have the problems that other sports do. Take cricket for example. I learned that cricket is a big deal overseas when I watched SkySports, which is the Great Britian version of SportsCenter. I was fascinated by a one hour show that was 30 minutes of soccer news and highlights to go along with 20 minutes of cricket news and highlights mixed in with just a little bit of golf and tennis at the end. How can a sport with a tea break make the steroid scandal in baseball look like a minor problem? Bob Woolmer was the head cricket coach for Pakistan who were playing in a World Cup tournament in Jamaica. Following an upset loss to Ireland on Saint Patricks Day, the 58 year old was found strangled to death in his hotel room the next day. Cricket is not only a sport that is wildly popular in places like India, South Africa and Britain, but has more problems than any American sport as I found out in this ESPN.com article http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/news/story?id=2809756 Blood Doping....fixed matches....murder. Could you imagine how our country would react to something like this happening in the NFL, NBA or MLB? There is no question that we have passionate fans whether it is college basketball, college football, the NFL or our favorite major league baseball team. All of the sudden, Kentucky fans who just want to make a regular trip to the Final Four do not seem so obsessive. I hope we never see the day where one of our national pastimes has a "cricket" problem.