Andy Kirkaldy: Of NFL quarterbacks, FIFA, and the best gym in Vermont
A few items, from local to international, have recently caught my attention.
Nationally, NFL quarterbacks have been in the news.
Peyton Manning got a pass from the media after walking off the field following a Super Bowl loss to the Saints and not shaking any hands, including that of winning QB Drew Brees.
He’s a competitor, said the talking heads.
After this Super Bowl, losing QB Cam Newton sought Manning out, shook his hand with a big smile. But later, while being badgered with questions, Newton walked out of a post-game press conference.
Was Newton just being a competitor?
Nope. Sore loser. Spoiled brat.
Rob Gronkowski spikes the ball 40 feet into the air after scoring touchdowns and bangs helmets with his QB. Everybody loves Gronk.
Newton dances and celebrates with his teammates after scores.
Nope. He’s a punk.
Do we live in a post-racial America?
On a different Manning issue, the media and the public around the nation slammed Tom Brady for asking Patriot employees to deflate footballs — and I believe he did, but within his rights, to the lower end of legal limits. Cold air took care of the rest, as has been proven over and over again to anyone who will listen to science.
Meanwhile, large quantities of performance-enhancing drugs were being shipped to Manning’s home, allegedly for his wife. And if you believe that, I have some only occasionally damp land in Cornwall to sell you.
Several ESPN announcers publicly refused to discuss those PED allegations, which seem to have vanished from the news.
Equal under the eyes of the law too often does not apply — speaking of Manning, see the University of Tennessee vs. women.
Equal under the eyes of ESPN and the public rarely seems to apply.
Internationally, FIFA, the governing body of what the rest of the world calls football, recently elected a new president, Gianni Infantino.
Any real hope for change in FIFA went down the tubes when Infantino almost immediately announced FIFA would maintain faith with those who have paid their bribes: Russia and Qatar would host the next two World Cups. Hey, honor among thieves…
Russia at least makes some sense, if you overlook the country’s homophobia and tendency to annex its neighbors. Games at least won’t be played in air-conditioned stadiums built with foreign slave labor in 120-degree deserts. Russia has domestic slave labor.
OK, Gianni, but at least please give us stop-time on goals, injuries and substitutions, and display the time so everybody knows how much remains.
Those measures would help stop cynical time-wasting strategies, such as players taking longer to leave the field for a sub while their teams are nursing a one-goal lead than David Ortiz does to admire a home run and round the bases. And players acting like they’ve been hit by a sniper’s bullet when they get tripped.
No one expects the new president to help pull the game into the 21st century, but into the 20th century would be helpful.
Finally, back to Addison County. The Vergennes Union High School gym built 16 years ago is the nicest high school gym I have seen in the state.
I haven’t been in every Vermont gym, but dating back to my older daughter’s AAU years, I’ve been in a lot of them, virtually every one in Chittenden County, and a smattering elsewhere — Windsor, Montpelier, Poultney, Fair Haven, for example.
The Commodome is big, bright, clean and shiny. The sight lines are good from every seat, and there are a lot of them. It’s no accident the state cheerleading and dance competitions have been held there every year recently. And the old gym is not too shabby, either, with new seats and flooring. And the maintenance folks there deserve a shout-out for taking good care of the whole place, not just both gyms.
VUHS Activities Director Peter Maneen recently sent out an all-staff email about the great feedback he got during the dance and cheer competitions, which drew about 3,000 visitors.
It read, in part:
“I heard many positive comments about our facility. People raved about the art work on the walls, the amazing gyms, the brightness of the building, the shine on the floors … (There were) many comments from students wishing their own school was like ours. My personal favorite was from one student to another, ‘They have two gyms and both are better than ours.’”
Enjoy your place, folks.