The Sikeston Bulldog basketball team will be finishing a terrific season this weekend by playing in the final four in Columbia. And after every game, win or lose, the coach and several players will be taken into an interview room to be asked questions from reporters from all over the state.
Fortunately, when high school players are interviewed they usually sound humble and answer the questions in a very sincere, educated manner. Unlike many professional athletes, who with their big contracts and tons of free time, seem to enjoy giving a continuous stream of things that can only make me shake my head.
So, for our Bulldogs, I will give some tips that we have learned from today's professional athletes.
First, forget the "I want to thank God for this win," line. Now, I am not criticizing religion or anyone for having faith in God. What I am criticizing though is Johnny Bigmouth who thinks God likes his team better than the other. I would think that God has more important things to worry about than who wins a sporting event. And here is a question. If a player on each side prays for victory, how would God choose? If Team A wins, does that mean that God cares more for Team A than Team B? Just a thought.
Another thing to remember is not to continually end your answers with the phrase, "you know what I'm saying." I personally will turn off the television when I hear Timmy Notoosmart say something like, "I thought we really played good today, you know what I'm saying?" Yes, we know what you are saying because you just said it.
And I don't know what is worse, answering with "you know what I'm saying?" or constantly saying "um." Folks, "um," isn't a word. Athletes are always getting called uneducated and the use of "um" sure doesn't help any. When Freddy Slowbrain throws out things like, "I thought we, um, played well for the most part. Um. We kind of, um, let down in the end . . ." he doesn't sound real intelligent.
Another thing that makes athletes sound unintelligent is referring to themselves in the third person. We have all encountered Billy Fullofhimself making a statement like, "Billy won't let anyone score on him." When an athlete says that I start looking at the program trying to find another player named Billy. We know most of these athletes are good players but do they really have to be so arrogant that they refer to themselves by name?
And I wish athletes would think about what they say, before they say it. Here are a few examples of some athletes who didn't heed that advice.
* A wide receiver for the University of Houston on his coach: "He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings."
* A NFL running back when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."
* A former NFL quarterback: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
* A baseball player after a 1-0 game: "The game was a lot closer than the score indicated."
* And a basketball player on his lack of championships: "I've won at every level, except college and pro."
These are just a few tips that I have picked up along the way. But, I also don't have cameras and microphones pointed at me all the time, you know what I'm saying?