The mass media might make you feel as if the planet is doomed. But that's just egotistical paranoia. Earth has been around billions of years, and I'm certain it has endured seemingly catastrophic times like ours before. Believe me, we're nothing special. Life is the same as it ever was. Obstacles confront humanity, and people choose to be miserable or happy. I choose to be happy.
I'm happy that the Rochester Institute of Technology looked into joining the ECAC Division I men's hockey league when Vermont announced it was leaving after this season. Unfortunately, Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut) was extended the invitation. The ECAC conference features a collection of top American colleges: Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, RPI, St. Lawrence, Union, Clarkson, and Colgate.
Rumors circulated that RIT submitted a formal application, but RIT Center for Human Performance director Lou Spiotti says school administrators only inquired about the opening. Regardless, the interest means that the school recognizes the valuable exposure a Division I program brings to institutions, even with a more obscure sport such as hockey.
Spiotti tells me RIT will continue looking to use athletics to enhance its national reputation without affecting academic credibility. The school could go Div. I in only one sport, but likely would not be allowed to offer full scholarships. That's OK. It's time the community had a Div. I program anyway. There's even something admirable about taking the non- or limited-scholarship route: The school wants to attract a sport's best and most intelligent participants, without selling its soul.
I'm happy Puerto Rico crushed the American men in Olympic basketball during the preliminary round. Puerto Ricans are Americans too, so America won no matter who lost.
I'm happy the Twins are the Red Wings' parent club. The other day I watched Minnesota beat the Yankees and it was refreshing to see former 2004 Red Wings Justin Morneau and Lew Ford contribute to the win. As of August 22, Morneau had 12 home runs in 42 games and Ford was tied for second on the team with 58 RBIs. When Baltimore was Rochester's longtime affiliate up through just two years ago, it seemed as if Cal Ripken was the only Red Wing since 1980 to do anything for the parent club.
Red Wings president Gary Larder said the Twins regularly send somebody to Rochester to watch or work with the players. The Orioles, on the other hand, rarely sent anyone. According to Larder, the Wings practically had to beg Baltimore's front-office people, people like Syd Thrift, to come here toward the end of their partnership.
I'm happy I live in New York State. People complain about the tax burden, but I say, hey, if you want to live in the best state, you're going to have to pay for it. If you want to drive a Mercedes, you have to pay for that too.
I'm happy former Bills offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski once told me that it takes about a preseason for the five offensive linemen to jell. I had been under the impression that it took longer --- perhaps even several seasons --- a myth that coaches and players perpetuate, as if jelling an offensive line is far more complicated than occupying Iraq, removing its leader, and introducing a democratic government in about a 15-month span. The NFL tricks you into thinking that only the highly IQ'd can participate in its just-so-complex game. If you knew former Bills tight-end Bobby Collins, you'd know that's just not the case.
Collins played for Buffalo in 1999 and 2000. Not too many reporters talked to him, mostly because they couldn't understand him. But I understood him enough to learn that his favorite TV show was Divorce Court, that he liked playing pool, and that he had an unashamed fondness for chewing tobacco.
Collins was a jovial Alabaman, and I liked him. He had a habit of peppering his speech every half-second with, "You know what I'm saying." During his second year with Buffalo, someone from Bills PR must have told him to stop that. So, he stopped... and instead started saying, "You know what I mean?" which wasn't much of an improvement.
Collins is out of the game, come to think of it. So perhaps there is a correlation between intelligence and NFL participation, but for God's sake, players don't have to be Nobel Prize winners in chemistry.
I'm happy National Geographic just did a piece on global warming. Ten generations from now, Rochester might be the new Miami, so I'm currently looking for property around the Port of Charlotte.
I'm happy that outsourcing jobs to other countries is forcing US workers to retrain themselves and find niche jobs that no other country's workers could possibly do. That means there should be more competition for jobs that really can't be outsourced, such as coaching pro and college sports. If you think that industry is competitive now, the system should start producing even more geniuses than the few Belichicks and Parcells that exist today. Think of all the great football we'll be watching in a decade or so.
Of course, the day some guy in an Indian call center sends in plays from half a globe away, we're all doomed.
But I'll go down happy, I swear.