Respect them for more than their game
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Coaches and commentators use the word interchangeably with talent and potential.
“You have to respect the deep threat he provides.”
“Don’t sag back on him, you have to respect that jump shot.”
It’s a short hand for recognize what this player can do so that you defend them or counter the move and depending on the match up sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.
When it came to Allan Houston’s days in a Tennessee jersey, everyone respected what Houston could do on the court. The future NBA All-Star drew the best defender, double teams and the odd collegiate variation of the Detroit Piston’s Jordan Rules and still set scoring records for the Vols.
So too did Randall Cobb when he graced the confines of Goddard Field. The Daily Times 2007 All-County Co-MVP wasn’t so much a secret weapon for Alcoa as the one that nobody figured out how to stop. The SEC didn’t have any better luck when Cobb helped reignite the Kentucky program. Now it’s the NFL’s defensive coordinators who remain wary and aware of exactly where No. 18 may be lined up on the field in respect for his ability to run, catch or throw on any given play.
Different skills in different arenas but both have more than an Alcoa connection in common.
There is a decency and respect for themselves that is all too often missing amongst athletes — college and professional.
Maybe more pro athletes had higher standards for their off the field conduct in days gone by, but then maybe the Internet also wasn’t around to spread every rumor. Sometimes it seems that professionals were just expected to maintain their public image and were themselves only away from the cameras and crowds. But even if that was the case once upon a time in America, that standard for being a professional has withered dramatically away in the me and mine, SportsCenter driven world.
And then there are those that remind us, for every player arrested or acting like not only they but no one else in the history of the world has ever scored a touchdown before, there are professionals who are just good people.
Allan Houston has been a key supporter of his dad’s work and the mission of the Charles M. Hall Alumni Association. This year Cobb joined Wade Houston’s team in trying to support the needs of this community.
“The scholarship portion is primarily why we're here,” the elder Houston explained to The Daily Times during Saturday’s golf tournament. “We had some great auctions last night. Allan gave a trip to New York, two airline tickets, two tickets to two Knick games and we had Randall’s jerseys, a Jon Calipari ball — the list goes on and on. We’ll have a good amount of money raised for that and it goes to the young people in this area. To get them in college, to get them in school and defray some of the cost they have when they go to college.”
Cobb hasn’t had a lot of time to come back to East Tennessee in the 14 months since he was drafted by Green Bay, but he made time for his third trip back to be one that really counted.
And some times it’s nice to be able to respect the man off the field even more than the player he becomes in the game.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com