I went to bed in August and woke up in late November. It may be hyperbole, but that is how fast this semester has passed. Thanksgiving leftovers have been consumed, Mariah Carey dominates the radio stations, and the Samford Library has become a hectic center of harried students getting their last few assignments and study hours in.
With winter entirely upon us and a lull in both Samford sports and the greater sporting world at large, it is time to address two complaints that have long plagued Dave’s Corner.
Firstly, many have complained that I am too cynical and am a constant, unfair critic of Samford sports. I will admit this is partially true upon self-examination; looking back at my opinion articles as a whole and especially this semester, I seem to look at Samford with a glass-half-empty lens.
In many ways, the work of a critic is simple. Critics risk very little to judge and criticize those who offer up their work or art for judgment, and negative feedback is arguably more thrilling than a positive review. I apologize to any readers, athletes or coaches that I may have offended with my harsh prose, but I believe I am a symptom of what I can refer to as “Greater-Itis.”
I’m not alone in this disease; it’s rampant throughout schools like Samford, especially those in the South. Every Saturday in the fall, students pack into Seibert (soon-to-be Pete Hanna) Stadium and watch Samford football for maybe a half, the whole game if you’re lucky. The reason for early exits? Students want to watch the teams they’ve rooted for (Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, etc.) for decades rather than the school they attend. Why? Because they’re greater and better at football than Samford is, and this extends to most sports across campus.
Samford is not bad at sports, but compared to juggernauts in the SEC, ACC and Big Ten, we remain a small fish in the shark-infested water of the NCAA and its shifting landscape. So, when I write articles that aren’t favorable towards our sterling athletic department, it is because I hunger for something greater. I believe that Samford can slowly morph into a mid-major powerhouse across all sports with the talented head coaches we have, the city we’re in and the campus culture we possess.
The second, more pressing complaint is something I’ve found in conversations with students and teachers alike: I am viewed as “the sports guy.” Everywhere I go, whether Ben Brown or Brooks, CHS or Chapman, I am asked for the latest sports take or my prediction for the big game on the horizon. Yes, I love sports, and it’s a passion I’ve taken into my writing career. But what I am not is a one-dimensional Flat Stanley who can only tell you about one thing. My passions are far more varied than people realize. As much as I love talking about the Braves, I’m just as eager to talk about music, whether it’s the production of Fred Again that is sweeping dorm rooms and dance halls alike or why Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys is the greatest album of all time. As much as I love a spontaneous trip to a minor league hockey game, I also love an equally spontaneous backpacking trip in the wilderness of Texas. Yes, a home Duke Basketball game is akin to a religious experience, but visit me at Redeemer, and I bet you’ll get something closer to the real thing.
Overall, I know I’m preaching to the choir. Dave’s Corner isn’t perfect; it’s a jagged opinion column with plenty of room for improvement. But, to say that I am a writhing hermit who despises Samford sports or a one-trick pony who only loves athletics is a gross disservice.