Blog Entry

Mailbag 8/7

Posted on: August 7, 2010 9:29 am
 

A few of you wondered why I didn’t mention Florida’s numerous legal run-ins in the last of our super schools series.

Sebastian wrote:

Dennis, I'm just wondering why you didn't mention Florida's atrocious arrest record while slurping Urban Meyer in this article. Yeah he's won 2 titles, but his players have also racked up nearly 30 arrests during his tenure.

Good point, fair point. I call it The Most Interesting Man In The World theory. Surely, you’ve seen the Dos Equis commercial where the dude is surrounded by women, enthralled with his accounts of world adventures. He is so cool that if he punched you, you’d have to resist the urge to thank him.

“I don’t always drink beer,” the James Bond knockoff says, “but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

I saw that guy Wednesday night in New York. Well, not THE guy, but an older gentleman who could have passed for TMIMITW. We were at a piano bar called Campagnola on the Upper East Side. To say it was old school would make Godfather II seem futuristic. It was a power place with power people. On a Wednesday night, mind you, the men wore suits and the women wore dresses. Bo Dietl was there, Don Imus’ buddy, so there was somewhat of a celebrity atmosphere. (Read the reviews: Dan Marino has been spotted too!)

 The bar was a place to belly up to and to share stories and time with friends. The bartender was a gregarious guy who was always looking for the next person to serve.

My kind of place.

The piano player looked like he’d come from a shift as a cashier at Wal-Mart. He wasn’t dressed bad, just down, and certainly not in keeping with the clientele. It didn’t matter. This guy could bang the ivories. You can guess the set list – Sinatra, standards, etc.

After an hour of sitting with the piano player, we spotted this well-dressed, graying gentleman walk in. In good shape, obviously a man of business and substance. The waiter immediately sits him at a table next to the piano, obviously his favorite table. The customer orders wine, an appetizer, has fish for the main course. He lingers a bit, then leaves.

At no point did he speak. At all. Everything was communicated to the waiters through eye movements and gestures. They knew what he wanted. They knew his favorite dish. They bussed his table promptly between courses. It didn’t hit me until he was gone. This place was so old school and, well, old, it had customers who didn’t even have to speak. Everything was understood. The customer’s loyalty and the staff’s familiarity with him made everything automatic.

That’s how I approached writing the Florida story. Going in, the series was supposed to be a celebration of the top football/basketball schools. Hopefully, Gary Parrish and I gave you a closer look at how that excellence came about at each school. Sure, at Pittsburgh I could have hammered on the fact that Dave Wannstedt has yet to win a conference title. Ohio State has had a bit of frustration in championship games, as well as its own off-field problems. You’re right, Sebastian, in pointing out Florida’s 30 arrests/citations. They are inexcusable and a black mark on Urban Meyer’s overall record.

He knows that. But he’s not a renegade coach. Quirky, maybe, but not a renegade.

For purposes of this story, it was understood that Florida had its share of off-field dust-ups. Could I have mentioned them? Sure, but what’s the point? It was like the TMIMITW who entered Campagnola Wednesday night and ordered the fish without uttering a word. He knew, the wait staff knew. We knew about Florida.

Let’s enjoy the moment, shall we, and if that piano player knows “Summer Wind” by Sinatra next time he’s going to get a big tip.

(Keep writing. The season begins soon.)

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, Mailbag
 
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