The best part about that Jack Nicholson performance is he did it with the same intensity for the all the takes where the camera's on Tom Cruise saying his lines as well as the takes where the camera's focused on Nicholson. Usually, in a scene shot and edited as that one was, the actor not on camera reads his lines with half intensity.
So, I come back from a day off ready to talk about 2012 wide receiver recruit Nick England transferring to Old Dominion, the reports that Vero Beach kicker Karson Dietrich would walk-on here, the possibility that 2012 freshmen Johnnie Durante, linebacker Leroy Owens and quarterback Favian Upshaw are transferring and, boy, what a comments section! Comments begging for commentary!
So let's throw on The Crusaders' Southern Comfort, grab some Fanta Grape and get started...
1. No, I don't hate FIU. I hate Purdue. I hate Indianapolis Ben Davis High. I hate any school swimming against Miami Country Day. I don't care enough about FIU sports to hate it. Hate to break it to you, but few do.
"Oooo, they fired coaches he got along with..." Maybe some of you are that childish. I'm a little too old for that. I've been doing this job over 25 years, almost 24 at The Herald. Many coaches I've gotten along with have been fired. Many more will. The Florida Panthers fired two of my favorite people to cover, Bryan Murray and Terry Murray, on the same day. I never wished that franchise ill.
Was I surprised by the Isiah Thomas firing? A little. Was I annoyed -- like the few others in the local media who care about FIU -- that I couldn't get an answer as to why he was fired? Sure. Did I also put in the blog once the team's 2010-11 APR came out that eight wins plus an 825 APR pretty much explains his firing? Sure did.
(Oh, I heard last year's APR could be another stinker, and FIU could be looking at some punishment from the Kollege Kremlin up on West Washington in Indianapolis. Also, I've heard this year's staff has been much more diligent in getting kids to class.)
I wasn't the only one in the media who thought Mario Cristobal's firing premature. FIU's been pilloried nationally and locally over that. But I handled the coaching search the same way I have every other search I've covered. And Ron Turner hired who he's hired and fired who he's fired (and when he's fired them). I didn't make a single decision. I just wrote about them.
I don't have an axe to grind against anybody. What have I written about Pete Garcia that's so savage? Or untrue?
My point in saying I could really embarrass folks daily if I wanted, well, I'm not sure I could put it any plainer. Any reporter who's on a college beat for a while knows many things athletes, coaches, administrators have said or done that would embarrass the proudest supporter of that school. If a reporter wanted to humiliate the school he covers, especially a public one, he could have that school to where it's the butt of weak Jay Leno jokes and better Dave Letterman jokes in a month.
There's a reason Brent Musberger said in the Pony Excess 30-by-30 documentary on 1980s SMU, "When the local media turns its guns on you, you're finished."
Let's end this part with one simple fact: I actually like FIU. I try to write about most of FIU's teams either in the paper or on the blog. If I hated FIU, I wouldn't make the effort. I'd write about football, basketball and a little baseball and that's it. That's what drives this blog's readership and the print readership. If I wrote less than 100 words about any of the other sports, it would make no difference in any performance review I received at The Herald or the number of people who read this blog.
How do I know? I look at when blog readership increases, decreases and what gets comments. Football moves the needle. Basketball, some. Baseball, a quiver. Everybody else, zzzzz. For example, during swimming and diving's spectacular conference meet last year, I was blogging updates soon as the official results posted over several posts. FIU had the conference Swimmer of the Year (Johanna Gustafsdottir) and Diver of the Year (Sabrina Beaupre) yet readership flatlined. All those posts drew one, "Yay for FIU! Good job, ladies!"-type comment.
This year, I hope to do the same updates and hopefully add end-of-day interviews. But, I hate FIU. Yah.
2. I didn't volunteer to cover UM because, No. 1, that beat wasn't open. This one was. Adam Beasley left the beat. It was open. See, like most positions in companies, a job has to be open before you ask for it.
No. 2, FIU is a public university with a nice walkable campus filled with mostly polite young people still optimistic they can change the world. That's good energy. One FIU employee, who used to be based away from the main campus, told me she used to reenergize by walking through the GC when she'd be called back to Camp Mitch. It feels much better spending my days around that than in a windowless media room waiting to talk to Dolphins players in the midst of another non-playoff season then in the offseason wondering who they'll draft.
No. 3, it works well for schlepping my daughter to school, picking her up from school and handling other daddy duties. Speaking of my daughter, a corollary to something I often tell her:
3. If it doesn't happen or almost nobody knows it happened, it doesn't get reported. That simple. And I've been on this beat for 20 months now. I hear more than I once did.
There's a reason coaches used to almost patrol the dorms at night. If something happens and they're on the scene, they can help defuse the situation or help erase it before official reports have to be made.
Well, the alarm rings in four hours. Froot Loops atop tonight's taco dinner should make for a fun midday. Good morning.