Well 2009 is about to come to a close and the decade as such , has been filled with a litany of sporting events and some heart warming stories. Others however, haven’t been so endearing or comforting to our psyche.
We’ve reveled at the exploits of many of our sporting heroes and at the same time we’ve been reviled by the actions of others. But such is the dichotomy of the sports panacea that we’ve got to take the good with the bad. We simply have no other choice.
As an avid reader of the one US national daily newspaper that I find gives me a great deal of insight on a broad based and a wide variety of topics. I’ve got to admit that I’m enamored with the USA Today and in particular its sports coverage. And today of all days one particular article stood out above all others . And that was an article written by Reid Cherner, entitled ‘Countdown to 10’: Top sports breakups since 2000. If ever there was an article to make you think and about a subject matter in depth. Then this was it. And his picks in some ways, do pack a punch, as the veracity for a case can be made for each. And those picks are wide and varied in terms of the gamut of sports wherein he suggests that the breakups were indeed bad.
And amongst the storylines where Reid made his picks there were the following. Tiger Woods’ split from his long time golf coach, Butch Harmon. Well, bearing in mind that Woods now has far more on his plate to handle as of late. I think that the split with Harmon might seem somewhat trivial to Tiger at this juncture. The fact of the matter is, despite the split, Woods would continue to win and steadily amass a fortune that now makes him one of the richest, if not one of the ‘richest athletes’ in the world. But I do expect Elin to have something to say about that ! ‘ I want half, Tiger ‘ ! Need one say anymore on the matter ?
Courtesy of USA Today
By Reid Cherner, USA Today
‘Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
‘Cause breaking up his hard to do’ —Neil Sedaka
If the past decade has proved anything, it is that sometimes love will not find a way. There were plenty of bromances started in after 1999. Not all of them made it to 2010. The top sports breakups since 2000:
Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon: It seems so quaint now. After all, no back windows were smashed and the Florida Highway Patrol was never called. The notion of being a great swinger was something we all wanted to emulate then. But when Woods fired Butch Harmon as his coach after 10 years, it broke up one of the most successful partnerships in golf history. The two won a hunk of hardware together. There is no question that Woods would be the world’s greatest golfer whether Harmon or Hank Haney was giving tips, but some of his best years came with Harmon. “I loved the 10 years I had with Tiger,” Harmon told reporters. But he also said he enjoyed “being away from that circus — the media, the cameramen, the people running after you, always asking questions.” Harmon had no idea how prophetic he would be.
Bobby Bowden and Florida State: No marriage is forever, no matter how happy you were in the salad days. When the Seminoles hired Bowden 34 years ago, it was with the hope that he would build a football program where none existed. Bowden brought his homespun wisdom and his sense of humor. Oh, and he brought a little bit of coaching and recruiting know how. He exits the stage with the two national championships and almost 400 lifetime victories. Bowden, who once said “I guess I’ll retire some day, if I live that long,” says he now plans to see the world with his wife Ann. Bowden wanted one more year but seemed resigned to his fate. He leaves Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who faced his own firing squad earlier in the decade, as the grand old man of college football.
Roy Williams and Kansas: When Williams turned down his alma mater to stay at Kansas he was a hero in the state. When he changed his mind a few years later and agreed to re-establish the program that Dean Smith had built, Williams became a public enemy. Even after the Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship, destroying Williams and his Tar Heels in the Final Four, there were many who grew nauseous at the mention of his name. This for a man who took the team to a couple of national championship games and won almost 80% of his games. Williams writes in his new book Hard Work that one of his closest friends told him “Whatever you do I’m going to be with you” didn’t speak to him for 1½ years after he made the decision. Williams tried to remain loyal, even wearing a Kansas sticker during the ’08 title game, but the Jayhawks didn’t want to remain friends. Some might think that Williams can keep himself warm on cold nights but watching the tape of his two national title teams at UNC.
Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers: Tom Hagen, the consigliere of the Corleone Family says in The Godfather “your father wouldn’t want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal.” The Packers thought Favre was in the late afternoon of his career and Aaron Rodgers was ready to become the bright new shiny penny at quarterback. This was a divorce between Packer management and one of its players. There are still Green Bay fans who proudly wear their No. 4 jersey and talk of the glory days when Favre took them to two Super Bowls. If any of these tales can have a happy ending this one may be it. Favre has new life with first the New York Jets and now the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are among the league’s hottest teams. Will everyone ever vacation together? No. Will they be meeting in Minneapolis for the NFC title? Well, wouldn’t that be interesting?
Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee: Isn’t it always sad when drugs, or in this case the talk of drugs, comes between two people who seemed so right for each other. Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. McNamee is a trainer who helped Clemens keep his 40-year-old body in 20-year-old shape. Then came allegations of performance-enhancing drugs and blood encrusted gauze and syringes. Everyone can benefit from third-party consultation but when that third party is Congress nothing good is going to grow out of the shards of relationship that are left. The lawsuits between Clemens and McNamee may remain alive for decades but the marriage is nothing but shambles.
In order to read Reid Cherner’s article in its entirety just click on the text link shown
Of all the splits mentioned by Cherner in his piece. For me, the standouts were Roger Clemens’ split from long time personal trainer, coach and close personal friend ,Brian McNamee. What that tells you about friendship and alleged betrayal, is all that you need to know. Never mind the fact there was and still has been a web of deceit and lies from both of these individuals. And the story and the acrimony between the two ,still hasn’t died down.
And Roger Clemens for his part , still maintains his innocence of any wrongdoing over the steroid abuse allegations made against him. And he somehow saw fit to throw his ‘wife under the bus’ when he gave testimony to the House Oversight Reform Committee up on Capitol Hill, Washington,D.C.Nothing says ‘coward’ when you choose a member of your family as a pawn in a game that has some very serious ramifications of all involved. Even though his name appears in the ‘Mitchell Report’. It’s just Roger being Roger. Yet another story that MLB could’ve done without. But there again just look who runs the hierarchy of the game ?
If Terrell Owens feels aggrieved about anything , should we at all, believe him ? Or is it that the player seeks our sympathy ? Here is a player who knows of more ways to outlive his welcome with an NFL franchise, quite simply more than porn star, Jenna Jameson knows how to disrobe and perform a plethora of sex acts right before your very eyes. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jenna Jameson performing a sex act. To each his own and whatever floats your boat.
Owens over his storied career has seemingly found ways to alienate teammates , self destruct and lay waste to any franchise where he has been professionally. From the San Francisco 49ers, to the Philadelphia Eagles to the Dallas Cowboys. In his path there has been left turmoil and disruption. If he’s not questioning a teammate’s sexuality, then he’s questioning their physical abilities and integrity. One wonders how he’s ever called himself a teammate to the likes of Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and Jason Witten ? But then again, the narcissist that is TO , will always be TO, no matter what ! That’s the way it is and always will be ! I’m just waiting around for the first tremors to be felt up in Buffalo , once the Buffalo Bills have decided that he’s no longer of any use to the team or the organization ?
These are but a few of the stories that I for one found somewhat interesting of the ten mentioned by Reid Cherner in his article. You’ll no doubt have your very own thoughts on a story that was ripe for this topic of discussion. So by all means feel free to offer it up for discussion within this forum.
A young Neil Sedaka sings his hit ‘Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do’.
This is but a tidbit of the sports’ breakups that’ve taken place over the decade. So feel free to chime on in with one of your own. And by all means do leave a comment.