Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thank you, Mr. President

I believe I wrote in this space a while ago about how football coaches are some of the dullest people in the world.

It's awfully nice of Nick Saban to help prove my point.

You may have heard this week about how President Bush paid a visit this week to the Miami area, and set up a dinner with former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. A few other football types were coming; Jim Kiick was one, I believe.

Saban, the current coach of the Dolphins, turned it down.

There are plenty of people who would turn down the chance to have dinner with this particular President. I know some of them. They are Democrats who are still trying to figure out how we elected this particular man twice.

But this has nothing to do with politics. (I find myself wondering how many football coaches have bothered to register to vote. After all, election day is in the middle of the football season.) Saban said he was simply too busy with training camp to spare the time to have dinner. He wanted to teach his players something about commitment.

What a missed opportunity. Saban could have taught his players a valuable lesson about perspective.

He could have reminded them that there are bigger things in the world than their jobs, that the chance to break bread with the most important person in the world might be a higher priority than to spend hours 13 through 15 of a day watching some more video of the same practice.

Besides, it's training camp. Coaches like to say that rookies who miss a practice because of a contract dispute will never catch up and their careers are doomed. Those same coaches have those same players in the opening day lineup. Think a head coach might be able to miss a little time at night? Me too.

Saban, of course, is the same guy who has left orders for the front office staff of the Dolphins not to say hello to him in the hallway. Too distracting.

Nick Saban is an excellent coach, and I have little doubt he will turn the Dolphins into a winner in the near future. But he certainly gives people good reasons to root against his team.

Not that we here in Buffalo ever need a reason to root against the Dolphins.

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