I realized sometime yesterday that I'd made a mistake with this week's 54b Weekly Challenge. It's not so much that the topic isn't worthy, it's that none of us are well-versed enough in Royal-speak to make it a fun game. In my view, two important lessons: (1) the weekly challenge needs to be centered around something already ingrained in our memories and (2) we all need a lesson in Royal-isms.
(By the way, the title of this post is my favorite Darrell Royal quote of all time. Just so that's estabilished.)
One other administrative note before we get into sports: it's officially the offseason. Worry not baseball fans, we'll be covering the baseball team in depth from now until Omaha, but it's slim, slim pickins beyond that. With that in mind, don't be surprised when this site becomes more of a general sports blog.
There's no question that the coverage will remain Texas-centric, but Burnt Orange Nation is really a giant water cooler for sports fans, and with most of our favorite Longhorn teams in hibernation, we'll necessarily branch out to make this a fun place to kick the sports can around.
(And don't worry, if there's one person on this fine planet good at digging up topics relevant to Longhorn fans, it's me. The tone will always contain distinct undertones of burnt orange. Even in the dry times.)
Caveats? Caveats! Onward!
So I've got something to say about the Don Imus situtation. I hesitate to even bring it up, because it's such a charged issue, but I think my point isn't an explosive one. If anything, it's a wet blanket on the fire.
I have three points I feel compelled to make, and then I'm done with it. For real.
(1) I have absolutely no problem with Don Imus getting canned for being an insensitive jackass, but I also think that the Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock is sniffing the right take on all this. It's not so much that I think that hip hop culture is as big a problem as Whitlock makes it out to be so much as I think that the hypocrisy Whitlock points out concerning moral outrage from African American leaders in some cases and not others is a tragic misappropriation of resources.
(2) I further think that the most important point that Whitlock makes is that the reaction from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson is a distraction from a real conversation on race relations in America. I'm not going to use BON to lecture, but I will say this: racial equality in America has very little to do with Don Imus. The problems that feed this issue are so much more fundamental than jokes of poor taste that it's sad to see Sharpton and Jackson - who may have outlived their usefulness in this regard - try to manipulate this issue into something it is not. Don Imus is an insensitive prick. However, rising to the occasion every time a person of public note makes an insensitive comment is not the same as attacking the real roots of social inequality in America.
(3) As spot on as I think Whitlock is in many regards, his column only proves how utterly frustrating newspaper columns are. Eight hundred words is not enough to get into the nuances that (literally) define the core of what's really at issue here.
As much as I think Whitlock's on to the right scent, his column is practically worthless. You show me eight hundred words that can properly deal with all the issues at play in this whole matter and I'll show you a Pulitzer.
More to the point: these social problems are complicated shades of gray, and we're all being asked to talk in black and white terms. It's no wonder we never get anywhere...
I confess not to know as much about Mark Turgeon as some, but the more and more I learn about the guy, the more and more I wonder whether Texas A&M may have hired the the guy they hoped Billy Gillispie would be. I have no idea whether Turgeon is as good a game day coach as Gillispie is, but I'm starting to get the feeling that he may be that coach that settles in, and buys into, College Station culture. We rail on the Aggies for their fascist fantasy culture, but it does have its benefits. As ESPN's Andy Katz notes, Turgeon may just wind up being the right hire at the right time. To those wondering whether this newfound basketball rivalry may have died when Gillispie left for Lexington, I suggest you hold the eulogy.
If there's a theme to these notes, it's that the offseason is going to be a time for expanded Longhorn learning. As much as we'd all prefer to be breaking down last Saturday's football game or Kevin Durant's latest heroics - it's mid-April, hoops and pigskin are done, and even the wonderful distraction of tall, hot volleyball players is off on the horizon.
In that spirit, let me urge you to use this offseason opportunity to broaden your horizons. First stop? Corn Nation, our SBN brethren who blog the Cornhuskers. Along with being your first stop for all things college baseball, Corn Nation's authors have little patience for current events that don't interest them. They'd rather review books or dig into history. Seriously: stick Corn Nation in your RSS feed. If you're not tech savvy enough for a feed reader, just add it to your bookmarks. Thank me later.
Speaking of sites to help get you through the work week, let me give you my top ten favorite time killers for the offseason. Yes - we're all going to spend the bulk of our time here, and it'll be fun, but if you're anything like me, the more interesting content there is to digest, the better.
Sunday Morning Quarterback - Y'all should know by now, but just in case you're slacking off, let's start with the bestest firstest. Fact is, SMQ's the best writer this particular niche of the blogosphere knows. He loves football; you love football. We all love getting smarter. QED: You should read SMQ regularly.
Every Day Should Be Saturday - It's not just that he recruited me to be his co-host on our wildly popular (read: 100 listeners last week, yo!) radio show. . . More like Orson is wicked literate, devilishly funny, and admirably devoted to our favorite sport - college football. Again: treat your brain to this. Every day.
Ladies. . . - Let's face it: BON can be a giant circle jerk at times despite the best efforts of Eddie The Albino Squirrel and Steezy. Last I checked, the rest of us knuckleheads spend the vast majority of our waking hours consumed with thoughts of females. Why not read the blogosphere's finest female-authored sports blog? It is true that only patienthornsfan and our other gay readers will enjoy the slobbering over hot guys on the site, but I can also assure you that it's damn refreshing to hear a bunch of ladies talk sports. And that's what they do. Plus, one of the principle authors is a totally obsessed Longhorns fan who goes by the moniker of "Texas Gal." Trust me - you'll totally develop a Texas-sized crush.
Roll Bama Roll - It's a co-authored site written by two guys who complement each other remarkably well. Todd's the zany character; Nico is the sophisticated sports fan (and music connoisseur). Together, their blog is pure entertainment for any sports fan - Tide enthusiast or not.
McCovey Chronicles - San Francisco Giants fan or not, if you want to read the best sports blog on the internet today, read McCovey Chronicles. It's almost a stretch to say it, because the site's author (Grant) is so busy that he doesn't have time to post as often as he (or the rest of us) would like, but I challenge you to find me someone who doesn't have a better grasp of humor. He's what I dream Carolina March will evolve into. Grant and TH remind me of each other.
MGoBlog - Brian cracks me up. In the sports blogosphere - which is often so derivative - he truly stands alone. He's one of the best writers I know, one of the best analysts I know, and one of the best bloggers I know. All three are very different things. That Brian excels at all three, with such decoration, makes me shake my head, at times. (Why should a BON'er read a Michigan blog? Besides the fact that I told you to, reading MGoBlog should give you an idea of what to expect from your team blog. Seriously. If you're gonna spend your work day on your favorite alma mater sports blog - know what you should be expecting to get.)
Dawg Sports - If you've read BON at all, then you know Kyle by now. I'm not sure I've linked to any other blogger more often than Kyle, and for good reason. If you want to know why I want to go to law school. . . go read Dawg Sports. Now you do.
Rocky Top Talk - Joel was doing just fine with Rocky Top Talk. Kickin' ass, even. And then he had to go add a co-author. And now the content is double the entertainment. Look, even if you don't dig the Other UT, keep an eye on Rocky Top Talk. If only to get ideas of what BON should look like. Go. Prosper. Send me hate mail.
The Wizard Of Odds - You know how all the people mentioned above have all these wonderful takes on all these interesting stories? Well, we don't comb through all the local papers to find them these days. We go to The Wiz. Whether you're a blogger or just a college football aficionado, this is your official One Stop Shop for all you crave.
Kissing Suzy Kolber - I used to have an irrational dislike for these guys, but I came to realize it was penis envy, moved quickly to acceptance, and embraced the goodness. I won't waste your time with dozens of words describing this blog. Just go, read it, laugh, and thank me later.