Friday, December 15, 2006

500 Reasons to Applaud

By Jared Trexler

People continually get caught up in Allen Iverson's latest trade rumor and the new Natalie Gulbis swimsuit calendar. Look into any office on the start of the work week, and water cooler fodder consists of sex and gossip.

You'd swear men were women. It's today's Morning in America.

It's what sells -- just look at The Phanatic's hits over the last two days. And believe me, I'm not complaining. You either accept the world you live in or get lost in it.

But Ronald Reagan's campaign genius was more than words. It was images -- of mothers and fathers waking up for work, taking their children to school, and perhaps most vividly the sun rising just above the White House on a new day.

We don't have time to see the sun rise anymore. The day begins with Dunkin Donuts, the kids left to the babysitter and WIP spouting nonsense on the way to work. Hours are spent in the boardroom -- behind the scene deals and backstabbing as part of the daily job description. The day ends on the PA Turnpike listening to more hyberbole about drugs, sex and violence in sports. AND THIS IS ALL AFTER THE SUN SETS.

Days blend into weeks. Weeks into months. Months into years, and not once do we experience the signifigance of the sunrise.

It's all lost in the money game of professional sports.

Yet it can be different, and in some places it is.

It's Morning in America, a new day. A day better than the last. A day fresh with possibilities and hope.

That's why I favor a collegiate game built on books more than boards. Teaching more than taunting. People more than Porsches.

North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams became the fastest coach to 500 victories last week in a triumph over High Point. The Tar Heels left little emotion on the court, sleepwalking through a 94-69 thumping.

All of the emotion was saved for off it. A post-game tribute video brought Williams to tears when the screen flashed a photo of he and Coach Smith (no Carolina disciple including Philadelphia consultant Larry Brown calls him Dean).

After the game, Williams hugged his players. He asked Marcus Ginyard about upcoming exams. Friends and family celebrated with a cake the size of the Dean Dome.

In professional sports, milestones are celebrated with boos and bitches. Sex on the Beach and just plain sex.

In the heart of sports, a man had just set a coaching record. He was King of the World for a night, with endless temptation of money and greed. Instead as a celebration of white cake and red punch ensued, do you know what Williams was doing?

Making sure everyone had a fork.

It's Morning in America. And just knowing that overshadows Howard Eskin's profanity and Chris Henry's sexual escapades with the underage.

It gives me 500 reasons to applaud.
**Photo courtesy of the Associated Press**

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