Jacobean playwright John Fletcher probably did not have much time to watch sports, busy as he was trying to be Shakespeare's successor.
But his 17th century aphorism "Deeds not words shall speak me" has, in the ensuing 500 years, become a bromide.
It's true in life and it's even truer in sport, wherein a team's deeds are placed in stark black-and-white on the agate page. This many for, this many against, and the former best outpace the latter.
When things don't go right on the field or rink, though, sometimes words are the only positive thing to come out of the disappointment.
Losing to a big-brother SEC foe by less than a touchdown is one of those once-or-twice-a-season things Vanderbilt fans have come to expect. Vanderbilt is the Alabama of moral victories.
In the post-game of the Commodores' 33-28 loss to Georgia, the cameras found Coach James Franklin and Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham having something of a discussion, presumably because a Georgia defender was taunting Vanderbilt for not completing a potential game-winning pass.
In his press conference, Franklin lived up to his reputation as a stentorian orator, delivering a passionate mission statement for the future of the historically woeful Vandy football program.
"We're also going to fight, and I want to make sure everybody understands that. We are not going to sit back and take stuff from anybody. Anybody. No one. Those days are long gone, and they are never coming back. Ever," he said.
The black-and-gold faithful trumpet the pronouncement as a distillation of the breath of badly needed fresh air Franklin has brought to West End, although they are glossing over the cold truth of Saturday: that the words came after a very Vanderbiltish performance.
It was good, but not good enough. It was plucky, but not powerful. Franklin's throaty theatrics notwithstanding, for 60 minutes on Dudley Field, it was indeed the same old Vandy.
The Predators, too, had their own post-loss diatribe. After a 3-1 loss in Edmonton — the third in a streak of losses that reeked of lack of effort — Tennessean beatman Josh Cooper found forward and baby-faced assassin Jerred Smithson, who was more than willing to deliver the rhetorical equivalent of a check to the head.
"We don't work, we don't skate, we don't forecheck, we have a hardworking team that doesn't work hard, and I don't know, it's beyond frustrating right now. I've never been a part of something like this. It's gotta change right now, or we're going to be on the outside looking in — December we'll be out of this, we have to change it right now," Smithson said.
The team was high after a shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils a few nights before, but Smithson took the shine off that turd, too.
"I don't know, maybe we thought we were better than we were, because we got a point? We still pissed away a point last game as well," he said. "Pekka [Rinne] is the exception. He's the only guy playing his balls off right now, and if it wasn't for him, we don't have any points. I don't know what to say about tonight, it was terrible."
It took a laudable level of journalistic detachment for Cooper not to high-five Smithson or run through a brick wall after the oft-quiet warrior fired that salvo.
The Predators and Vanderbilt often run into the same problem: a lack of pure talent, especially offensively, is hard to overcome when facing skilled opponents. Historically, the Preds have stayed competitive with smart, hard-working effort, frustrating the smoother, sexier team on the other side of the ice.
But the brains and the hardhats have been largely absent in the first week of the season. After stealing two wins on opening weekend, the team laid an egg at home against Phoenix, uncharacteristically outworked in a 5-2 stinker before the latest losses to the Devils and Oilers.
Playing smarter and harder is the long-term solution for Franklin — as it has been for every Commodore coach since Dan McGugin — but when the effort slacks, the talent gap shows itself as that much broader.
Long term, things might be OK for both teams. Franklin is only halfway into his first season. The Predators have more than 70 games left this year. If, indeed, Vandy refuses to back down, as Franklin promised, and if, indeed, Predators re-discover their effort, as Smithson hopes they do, things will be fine at both 21st and Fifth avenues — and, as Fletcher said, their deeds will speak them.
Stirring speeches aside, though, everyone would do well to remember the only words that matter in sports, as relayed by the late philosopher and eccentric football visionary Al Davis: "Just win, baby."
How could anyone possibly accuse donna of bigotry? She traded recipes with a hispanic woman…
The main damage to his credibility is that the Tennessean printed it.
Cite. Be specific now.
AnglRdr is the wind beneath my wings. "...Did you ever know that you're my hero?"
Yes, there is, Donna, which is why your naked bigotry always comes as such a…