Commentary

This Sporting Life: A Book of Daze

Originally Published: August 21, 2009
By Jeff MacGregor | Page 2

Samples from the 2010 Big-College Coaches Phrase-A-Day Inspirational Desk Calendar, $12.95 plus tax and shipping.

Jan. 1: "Winners never quit."

Jan. 3: "No comment."

Jan. 5: "Don't look at me."

Jan. 16: "All of this has been a lie."

Jan. 29: "When the going gets tough, weep."

Feb. 2: "Winning isn't everything -- but it's kept me out of traffic court 24 times."

Feb. 10: "It was like that when I got here."

Feb. 24: "Enough is enough and everybody's tired of it."

March 2: "Everything that's been printed, everything that's been reported, everything that you're showing is 100 percent a lie."

March 13: "I've admitted I made a mistake."

April 1: "We're missing the whole point of what's going on here."

April 15: "That's 100 percent a lie."

May 2: "Lies, lies, lies."

May 10: "A total fabrication of the truth."

May 20: "My wife and family don't deserve to suffer because of the lies."

June 1: "I'm weak."

June 15: "I'm only human."

June 28: "Please forgive me."

July 4: "It will never happen again."

July 17: "All I ask is one more chance."

July 29: "Technically the charge was 'Failure to Signal a Lane Change.'"

Aug. 2: "All I need is a second chance at a second chance."

Aug. 7: ".19"

Aug. 15: "It will never happen again."

Aug. 23: ".14"

Sept. 2: "I'm very weak."

Sept. 12: "We don't know anything, because I'm not going to comment because I have to wait on the finding."

Sept. 17: "I'm very disappointed and disheartened by the NCAA's findings."

Sept. 29: ".21"

Oct. 5: "Test scores? GPAs? Who can keep track of every little number?"

Oct. 20: "On advice of counsel and the administration, I invoke my Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."

Nov. 2: "I have never seen this woman before."

Nov. 7: "The terms of the settlement prohibit comment."

Nov. 30: "One more question like that and I will personally #$%* you up."

Dec. 1: "Sweet are the uses of adversity."

Dec. 15: "Listen. If you're very lucky, I'll teach your son or daughter a few things about what it means to be human, about what it means to be an adult, a citizen, a neighbor and a friend. A few things about excellence and perseverance and responsibility and courage.

"Much more likely, however, I'll be a hot trainwreck and a splendid example of moral squalor, an ethical sump, a pig, a hound, an outrage, a fascist pimp, a valueless spiritual vacuum devised by nature and the NCAA and the networks to bleed the fundamental goodness out of your children while extracting from them maximum revenue.

"And having done so, having brought them to the trough, having brought them to the hog wallow of big-college sports, having wrung from them every penny possible and having emptied them of simple decency, I'll then replace that goodness or innocence or joy with my own cynicism, my own hypocrisy, my own low selfishness and my own bleak win-at-any-price carnality and greed.

"And I will do all this because you allow me, encourage me, beg me to do so. In fact you pay me to do so. Pay me millions. Because you're a booster. A rooter. A fan.

"You're the enabler who brings me back year after year after year no matter what I do. As long as I win. As long as I provide some further distraction from the dull grind of your dismal life, ease the killing boredom of being you, relieve the gray sameness of your hollow days, inspire some feeling -- however false, however brief -- in your empty head and empty heart, I'm OK.

"I will ruin your children because you demand it."

Dec. 31: "Quitters never win."

Jeff MacGregor is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Please continue to submit your answers to his question: "What Are Sports For?" You can e-mail him at jeff_macgregor@hotmail.com.

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