For those of you who do not follow sports, but do follow me, let me quickly bring you up to speed on what is going on at Texas Tech University. To make a long story short, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was recently fired for the alleged mistreatment of Adam James, a wide receiver and the son of ESPN College Football analyst Craig James. Adam was apparently locked in an equipment room of some sort following a mild concussion.
There are three levels of shady in this. Texas Tech wanted to fire Leach anyway as he was set to make bonuses and salary they seemingly never wanted to give him. All his negotiations felt tenuous and contested. There is the shady vibe you get from Leach putting a kid with a concussion in a dark room as punishment. There is also the shadiness of an ESPN analyst reportedly oft complaining about playing time for his son, then ultimately breaking the story of his son’s mistreatment. This is a shady school, a shady coach, a shady father/son tandem. All I can say about the story is that I am glad it is taking attention from USC’s self-imposed sanctions for paying O.J. Mayo to play a year at USC. Er, at least I hope it is.
The real reason I am blogging on this story is because I am directly in the center of it. I am knee deep in controversy. Why?
Craig James used to be my neighbor. When I lived in Dallas as a little kid, we shared a cul-de-sac with his family. I used to play street hockey with his kids, namely Adam James. This was a nice kid. He was a kid who referred to the World Series as the “World Serious”. One time his sisters pushed me down the street as I triumphantly piloted a rolling garbage can. I did not receive a concussion, but in any event Adam didn’t seem too upset about me being confined in a dark, enclosed space. As a side note, my mother scrubbed me down shortly after not unlike the way an inmate is deloused upon being admitted to jail.
Was it my tutelage that caused Adam to go rogue? Did the standard of unbridled excellence I set forth as a chubby 5th grader cause Craig James to hold his son to an almost valedictorianesque set of expectations for young Adam? Did every single goal he set out get dire importance placed upon it? Was every day Adam’s personal “World Serious”? Holy balls. Am I to blame?
I try to recount every conversation Adam and I had. They say your early years are your most formative. Had I misshaped the poor bastard into a demon ball of clay? Perhaps the time I told him that faking a concussion would make you popular was influential on him. In retrospect, that was a bad choice. I also told him never to be intimidated by anyone who looked like Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber, and given Mike Leach’s appearance, I think Adam had a tough time respecting his coach.
So here’s what I have to say. I cannot back up Coach Leach or Craig James on whether or not it was hazing or whether or not Craig was being one of those d-bag parents that complains on behalf of the kid for playing time. If I had to bet, I’d bet it was a lot of both. What I can back up is that at one point Adam was a cool little kid who liked to eat fruit roll ups and play video games. How he ended up in scandal still eludes me.
So here is my offer to anyone involved with Texas Tech and so on. I am willing to be locked in the same room Adam was locked in and will report on whether or not it was hazing. I am pretty sure I will know once I am in there and will happily tweet from said shed. Plus, it looks pretty cool. There’s a big tractor-ish thing in there. If it gets boring, I’d bust out.
If you know anyone involved with Texas Tech, first just slap yourself in the face. Once you have done that, hook them up with my blog.