A short while ago, Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News-Tribune wrote this article on fans’ “nastiness” during the recruiting process. The piece could not have been more precise in explaining the ever-narrowing gap between fans and prospective college athletes, a divide that has been lessened with the rise of the internet age.
While college recruiting has always been a sleazy industry, hardcore fanatics have only really been brought into the fold over the past decade, as sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com (host to our very own Dawgman.com) have made prep athletics — and all which that entails; namely, recruiting — their primary focus. At the same time, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have given fans direct access to the recruits themselves, a caustic union akin to mixing Tim McGraw and Nelly (every time I hear Over and Over, I’m quite positive a child in a third-world country is stricken with malaria).
While Pacey’s piece nailed it from one end (I’ll admit, I just wanted to say “nailed it from one end” in an article) by placing the onus for this behavior on the adults in the situation, the stupidity of recruiting is not a one-way street. And here’s where we run into problems. Who do we blame when things get out of hand? What I mean by that is, can we really convince ourselves that fans are the only ones at fault for turning the process sour?
Fact is, there are no winners here. None. At all. On either side of the fence.
Sure, adults should know better than to pick on juveniles. But most of the adults doing the internet bullying are basically kids themselves. These are the same morons who procreate just so they can beat their children at Wal-Mart. Trusting them to do anything with any amount of sense is like handing Richard Reid a shoebox and asking him to faithfully look after it for you. “Here, Rich. I just got these Nikes. I’ll be back in five. Don’t be running off now!” BOOM! That just happened.
Likewise, if a high school athlete — with his future and a scholarship on the line, no less — has any intelligence at all, he’s not sitting on Twitter and Facebook interacting with people dumber than him. Yes, young Jedi, it is entirely possible that there are adults out there who have lower IQs than you. Adults aren’t always right. Adults aren’t always knowledgeable or informed. It doesn’t mean you’re some kinda genius or anything (so don’t get too high up on that saddle), but it does mean you have the chance to improve yourself through a very small dose of adversity.
You know what, though? Before we give high school athletes too much credit for dealing with these imbeciles, allow me to offer some words of advice.
First of all, highly-touted recruit, stop being so damn sensitive. I’m getting sick of hearing 17-year-olds say stupid shit like, “I didn’t choose School X because the fans were saying things to me on Twitter.” Really? REALLY?! Here you are about to have a free ride to a university of your choice, you’re going to be hooking up with beautiful sorority girls in a couple months, you have the chance to make millions upon millions of dollars, and you really have the wherewithal to play that card?
Kid, you KNOW you created that Twitter account to get virtual blowies from all the fans out there. Don’t act like you didn’t. Don’t turn innocent on us now, player. You’re seriously turning the tables on the public because you don’t like what they have to say? Grow the f**k up. I don’t care if you can’t legally buy a skin mag yet, you need to start the maturation process NOW. Why? Because of all the reasons I just listed: the free ride, the jersey-chasing hos, the potential fame and fortune…in a word, the pressure. If you think having people talk ill of you isn’t fair, then you better get that education because you’ll never make it in this world. Life isn’t fair. And when you’re afforded opportunities that the average person can’t have, the average person gets jealous and says some things that maybe aren’t so nice. Deal with it. Rise above it. Learn to be better than it. It means you’re fortunate.
And not only that, but you’re really going to let the actions of a few dumbasses dictate your academic and athletic future? I hope you wouldn’t pick a school just because the fans were nicer to you. That’s incredibly vain and illogical. Pick a school because it has a major you’re interested in, or a coach you like, or a gameplan you want to be a part of. Don’t let the fans steer you here or there. That’s not how the rest of us pick our higher learning institutions. You have a brain. Please use it.
Secondly, no one has any empathy for you, kid. We haven’t been in your situation before. Ninety-nine-point-nine-percent of us will never be in your situation. So we can’t feel your pain. Because we don’t know your pain. And therefore, we really don’t give a shit about your pain. You’re a talented, capable, young human being with all the potential in the world. You happen to be the subject of a bittersweet process. You will benefit from this process. You will also be used throughout this process. I apologize for that. You deserve better. But as it is, this is the way of the world. This is the unfair part of life I was talking about. Handle it. Don’t let it handle you.
Thirdly, there’s this, an old saying that I bequeath unto you: Never mud wrestle with a pig, because the pig might like it. These fans, these crazy neanderthal fans that are causing you trouble, they are your pigs. They’re dragging you into this mud pit and demanding you spar with them. Don’t do it. If attention from a teenager inspires these goons, you want nothing to do with them anyway. Walk away and let it go. It’s not worth it. Not even in 140 characters or less. Not. Worth. It.
It’s stupid. It’s stupid that I have to waste a thousand words on this article, telling people how stupid they are for being stupid. Recruiting is the bane of our very existence. It elicits the worst traits of mankind, it pisses everyone off, and it sets humanity back by generations.
We’re better than this. I swear to God, Allah, Buddha, Tim Tebow…we are better than this.
Adults, grow up. Kids, grow up. Stop fighting. Stop being morons. Stop acting like bitches. This ends in a zero-zero tie. Done.