This Week In The 'Drome we look to the future (sort of).
A New White Post vs. An Old White Post: This week in the dead-tree, I make passing mention to G.K. Chesterton.
A hero to thinking man's conservatives, G.K. was a fan of paradoxes and, something of a savvy sports philosopher.
Consider his famous quote:
But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution. Briefly, if you want the old white post you must have a new white post.
A knock on the management of the Titans and Predators have been that they are safe and conservative to a fault, never ones to make a risky move. But it's more that they are conservative in a Chestertonian way. They are constantly repainting their posts with the same color. Often it works — indeed, when David Poile went bold for the Predators last year, he wasn't painting the post white again, he was throwing a bucket of blood on it and randomly sprinkling it with glitter. But he tried to go back to the old method this year — plugging holes with "too many of the same type of player," only to see the post needed more than just patch work.
The Titans, it seems, have been quietly methodical in painting their post through the draft and then threw on their glistening paint this year in free agency, now just needing some top coat here and there in the draft.
Action on the ice and field is always more thrilling than front-office moves and player development, but with the on-ice and on-field products being so dreadful, watching paint dry just might be exciting.
The Week Behind
Roll Draft: As expected, the Titans went big and went offensive line, selecting Alabama's Chance Warmack, who wasn't expected to be there.
Boclair ahead of the draft:
Expect the Titans to focus on defensive tackle, a position that typically has a big drop from the top prospects to the rest. Warmack is the one guy who would change their thinking in that regard, but more likely they will target an interior blocker, possibly even Alabama center Barrett Jones with their second pick.
Final Throes: An OT loss at league-best Chicago, a nice win at home against Calgary and a road loss with the back-up in against Detroit. That would have been an OK week in most years. Not ideal, but certainly not terrible.
Unfortunately it didn't mean much this year.
The Predators, though, have become an interesting team to watch. They aren't tanking per se — not to the degree Calgary did Tuesday, by scratching the only six guys on the Flames you'd ever heard of — but they are dressing a lot of AHL players out of necessity. But their last two games — against Conference III defectors Detroit and Columbus — are against two teams fighting to get in the playoffs. Suddenly, Nashville's biggest backers ... are Dallas?
Garbage Time: Vandy baseball took two of three from Georgia and then beat No. 13 Louisville to retain the Barrel. ... The Music City Bowl will get a 2:15 kick on December 30. It is somehow not part of the College Football Playoff.
Summit Films: ESPN will debut a documentary about Pat Summitt July 9. It debuted at Tribeca and, as most of ESPN's documentaries have, is getting top reviews. It's interesting, in that AP piece, the coach hints that it's as much about helping her remember things as anything else. Alzheimer's is awful.
Tweet of the Week: Chris Johnson, helping folks:
Step away from the gun RT @drubaby336: If the #Titans dontdraft @chancewarmack or @theunderdog_64 in tomorrow night draft i will prolly 😳🔫
— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) April 24, 2013
The Week Ahead
Marathons And The Greeks: Last year, Mike Byrd — whose excellent marathon photos can be found here — tweeted some thoughts on the marathon. Neither he nor I can find them, but the gist was this: Marathons are, unlike so many other Big Sporting Events, inherently populist.
Now, I can't run a marathon, but I can, certainly, run. Most everybody can. It takes no special equipment, just what the Good Lord installed in the factory.
Marathons take place in cities, the action winds its ways through neighborhoods. It hardly takes a special trip to watch one — just grab your morning coffee and sit on the curb. Each marathon is, in a real sense, crafted by the city in which they occur. The Country Music Marathon is necessarily different from London or New York or San Diego.
And that, in part, is why the attack at Boston hurt so much, I think. While Boston loves the Red Sox and Bruins and Celtics and Patriots — just as we love the Titans and Predators — the marathon is part of the city in a literal way. But for the uniforms and the advertisements, the on-ice action at a Bruins game looks just like it does in Nashville. But Boston's marathon is different from Nashville's. Our skyline and theirs are part of the event. Our streets and theirs are the course.
Predictably, being the first big U.S. marathon after Boston, security is ramped up. The Post Office is locking its blue boxes and police will be extra vigilant.
The event has changed from last year and it's changed from Boston. But it's our event in a way few other things can be.
He Can Play: In 2009, MTSU — much to my surprise — was named one of the Top Ten Gay-Friendliest Division I College Football Schools.
It turns out, it was friendlier than we could have imagined.
Longtime Blue Raiders kicker Alan Gendreau came out this week in a great piece with Outsports — where he had done an anonymous interview his freshman year.
What's interesting is that he was out to his team, to his friends, to his family the whole time he played at Middle. He had been out since he was 16, dating other men, never trying to hide it from those closest to him.
And according to him and to his coach, Rick Stockstill, it was never a big deal.
“All Alan wanted to do was win. He wanted to kick well. He wanted to be a good teammate. He worked hard in everything he did. Our players knew how hard he worked. They knew how good a kicker he was. They knew he won games for us. He was not treated any differently than any other player in that locker room.”
The big hold-up, we're told, in a male gay athlete coming out in a major team sport is that it will somehow affect the locker room. What the great You Can Play Project aims for is a time when all that matters is a player's bona fides on the field, court and rink.
And at Middle, quietly, that was the case. Gendreau never felt compelled to hide who was and his teammates just cared that he was a good kicker. And he was, despite some struggles his senior year, some of which were not his fault.
This is a big deal in that it wasn't a big deal at all.
Now Gendreau wants a shot at an NFL team. There's only 32 spots for kickers — it's a hard place to break in — but scouts say he has the leg.
If you can kick, you can kick. And you can play.
Kick me an email at jrlind[at]nashvillepost[dot]com and listen to me kick it with Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland Tuesdays at 6 PM on 102.5 The Game.