Sad Day On North Broad Street




GORDONVILLE –Telemarketers, how much to I loathe thee?

Too many ways to count.

So much that I refuse the opportunity to go on a do-not-call list.

Instead, I’d rather answer and argue (or track them down when no one speaks after answering).

As much as I try to support my alma mater, Temple University, I have grown weary of the hunt for money I don’t have.

Doesn’t mean the door is slammed shut on the place where my parents and many friends and family went to school, let alone where I met my future wife, but we are more prone to deal with snail-mail pleas for dough than ill-timed callers.

When Temple pops up on Caller ID — a regular happening — I don’t answer.

That is going to change.

I don’t mean to give an earful to the poor coed on the other line who is trying to make a buck — especially since Temple isn’t exactly Rich Kid Central — but the buck (and bucks) stop here.

The news this week that the only sports being granted clemency from death row are men’s crew and women’s rowing (or maybe the other way around, but what’s the difference?).

Baseball, softball, gymnastics …

Gone with the wind.

Some may call my line in the sand righteous indignation.

I just call it righteous.

I admit to not following those sports on the chopping block, but I admire the athlete who toil under the radar for little glory.

On Facebook, my stance was quickly challenged.

There was the expected put-up-or-shut-up challenge, to which I responded that do plenty of that.

I stay loyal to the football team, wasting many a nice autumn day having my heart torn out, only to “put up” with the jokes from the Penn State people who engulf me.

When I encounter a young person considering Temple, I don’t shut up about the school’s many pluses.

Another Facebook friend decried the emphasis on sports in general, and hinted that a change in priorities could lead to a cure to cancer.

My counter was that a scholarship to an athlete who may not have otherwise gone to school could lead to a cure to cancer.

Riddles aside, there is a deeper issue, one that needs to be addressed.

I think my friend — like many who shrugged off this news — is thinking of football and men’s basketball.

There are schools, mostly based on geography, where other sports are big (ice hockey in New England, upper Midwest and Colorado and lacrosse from Maryland down to the Carolinas) but it is primarily those two where an abundance of full scholarships are handed out by schools like Moonies giving out fliers at airports (back when they could get past security).

At the top levels, the so-called big-time (where Temple wants to be in football, for example), we are probably seeing more athlete-students than student-athletes.

However, these are the sports that make the lion’s share of money for the school (so it can pursue a cure to cancer) and it’s not as much through donations/ticket sales, as it is from TV contracts.

The schools make the dough, the athletes get nothing. Some get diplomas, but we know how much that’s worth these days.

For the ones who don’t, all they gave up were half a decade’s worth of a jump start of being in a blue-collar union, and they have torn knees and concussion syndromes to show for their time in servitude.

The sports being cut, like at Temple, are not the same thing.

We are dealing with true student-athletes who put in a lot of extra blood and sweat on top of schoolwork. Many don’t even have full scholarships. They were recruited based on promises about a school, in terms of what majors it offered and the coach selling him or herself on the specific sport.

They could have picked more serene places, blocking out life’s realities a little longer, but instead chose Temple.

And Temple chose to kick them in the gut.

Just like I am going to do to the next caller looking for money.


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