Calling All Daddy’s Girls: A Timely Sports Opinion

Calling All Daddy’s Girls: A Timely Sports Opinion

Here's your chance to shine at the dinner table over a topic that'll still hold your dad's attention!

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As Florida Gator football fans that bleed orange and blue, Urban Myer has been a sort of legend in my household. Although they weren't back-to-back, Meyer still led the Florida Gators to two National Championships during my childhood – he became more of a hero to me than my dad (sorry, dad). Even my middle school hand-me-down iPhone lit up to an inspirational Urban Meyer quote, one that I look at now and wonder what I could've ever been thinking. When he retired from the game for health and family reasons, my heart was crushed, and tears rolled down my face – would this be the end of Florida football as I knew it? So far, yes. I was even more devastated to learn that Urban Meyer decided to unretire and lead the Ohio State Buckeyes. At 14-years-old, still passionately wearing my orange and blue cheerleading uniform, I wanted to know, how could Meyer be such a traitor?

Little did I know, just a few years later, I would be asking the same question and many more that further involved Meyer's slimy personality.

The story begins as many of you might imagine: It was my first night home from a long summer, and my dad's first dinner table topic of conversation was, yep! You guessed it! Urban Meyer. More involved in passing my classes than following the latest coaching scandals, I had no idea that such a thing was of any interest to the rest of American dad's out there. I blew the conversation off, practically not listening to my dad (again, sorry, dad). Meyer's name began to repeat at the dinner table, getting both of my parents more heated with each mention of his name. After a few nights and a few sightings in the newspaper, I figured it was finally time to get involved and learn why my dad was going on and on. He hadn't talked this much in practically a year!

For those of you who don't know, Urban Meyer was recently put on administrative leave from Ohio State University, where he served as the head coach for the Buckeyes football team. In the beginning, little was known about Meyer's situation. Some claimed that Urban Meyer's leave was Ohio State University, OSU, being "too proactive" as it happened at the heels of the recent news release on the sexual abuse scandal that occurred on the gymnastics and wrestling teams at OSU. All my dad thought was that Urban Meyer had maybe known about one of his assistant coaches physically hurting his wife many years ago – how could this lead to one of the greatest coaches, a shoe-in hall-of-famer, to administrative leave? There had to be more to the story, and yes there was – a horrifying load of truth that seemed to be hidden behind all of the signed footballs, trophies, and millions of dollars.

Ladies here are some reasons that can help your dad see you as the credible college girl you are in this Urban Meyer debate:

1. Meyer is a LIAR.

After taking Zach Smith, a then intern, under his wing at UF, Meyer has stood beside him and even brought Smith to work under him at OSU. At Big Ten Media Days 2018 – a day where the top men in college football come out to let the media in on the upcoming season's greatest predictions – Meyer lied straight to press. Meyer quickly announced that he was aware of the abuse that occurred in 2009 but had no knowledge of the reoccurrence in 2015. The information Meyer reported was inaccurate and impersonal. Quoting Meyers, he seems to work solely by what is "in the best interest of [the] team" (CBSSports.com). Forget justice.

2. Meyer's contract must've been misplaced in all the money.

When Meyer signed with Ohio State, his contract stated that any violations of university rules committed by assistant coaches must be reported and failing to do so could result in termination (ESPN.com). In April, the contract was rewritten and resigned – foreshadowing anyone? This revised contract stated that any violations committed by OSU staff members to the sexual misconduct policy be immediately reported to the Title IX coordinator. Additionally, Meyers, like all OSU employees, was required to report knowledge of domestic abuse by a fellow university employee. I would assume the same policy and requirements held true at the University of Florida. Umm…want to say anything, Urban Meyer?

3. For Urban Meyer, success is more important than justice.

Why else would Meyer not have reported the domestic abuse? After the 2009 incident, Meyer began to counsel Smith, a fact Meyer did admit. And what a fabulous job he did…not! After the 2015 event, Smith's wife, Courtney, filed for a divorce and a restraining order against her husband. In a very recent article published on ESPN.com, it states that Meyer's special assistant at OSU and confidant for many years, Hiram DeFries, told Courtney not to pursue charges back in 2009. DeFries is reported advising Courtney, "If you don't drop the charges, Zach will never coach again. He's never hit you before. He was drinking. He'll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance." Now did these words come from DeFries or from Meyer's thirst to win?… Your guess is as good as mine.

4. Crooks and killers, Meyer has hid them all.

From 2005 to 2010, the years that Urban Meyer served as head coach of the Florida Gators, at least thirty-one players were arrested (NBCSports.com). After avoiding charges while playing under Meyers and being thrown out of school by Meyer's successor, Will Muschamp, Jenkins stated that "If Coach Meyer were still coaching, I'd still be playing for the Gators. Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win" – yet another supporting reason that for Meyer, success is more important than justice. There's not even time now to shed light on Aaron Hernandez, a star tight end on the 2008 title-winning Gators, who went on to be found guilty of murder during his career with the New England Patriots. So while 65 wins might be a significant number in five years, is it worth anything with the resounding 31?

Even just these four reasons make me question how I ever looked up to him. But wait, did I forget to mention that Meyer's administrative leave is paid? Meyers, pre-leave, was expected to make $7.6 million in the 2018 football season.

Ohio State may still be investigating, but as a young female who stands for both women's rights and justice, I think the answer is pretty clear – fire Meyer.

For obvious reasons, OSU is in no rush to get rid of him. They would lose millions between lawsuits and negative press for the $100 million program (Forbes.com). On top of it all, they would be letting go of their prized coach, who is said to be the second-best coach in all of college football history, just second to Alabama's Nick Saban.

Something is undoubtedly fishy to me, but, ladies and all the lads out there supporting justice, let's keep our fingers crossed for the best outcome. And, might I add, Meyer is no longer even on a list of potential heroes for me.

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.
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When you give a girl a Papa she’ll have the best adventures. She’ll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she’ll always be down for a laugh. He’ll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she’ll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn’t just a grandfather, he’s a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day’s adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I’m not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life’s problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa’s house is always the worst part of the trip; driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can’t wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don’t treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don’t make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren’t the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words. Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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Don't Be That Ole Miss Fan Who Leaves When Our Teams Need Our Support The Most

While most of the students and some of the fans ditched before the 4th quarter, it really surprised me how little support we showed our struggling team.

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After the beating we took last week from #1 Alabama, we all wanted to steer off the stadium until the next weekend. However, losing to the number one team in the nation shouldn't be depressing; they are number one for a reason.

While most of the students and some of the fans ditched before the 4th quarter, it really surprised me how little support we showed our struggling team. Yes, the game was exciting for a solid 11 seconds, but that doesn't mean that we should abort ship so soon.

I even caught myself wishing they would run the clock around the 3rd quarter, feeling as if this game was never going to end. And it wasn't until the very end of the game that I realized what we had been missing.

We had been missing support for our team. But not just football this weekend but every sport we have. If it isn't one of the big three, do you even care? I know that I didn't and sometimes still don't. Does anyone go to the women's rifle events? Do you know when the softball team plays? Do you even know if we have a hockey team?

Being an Ole Miss fan doesn't mean that we love either football, basketball, or baseball. Being an Ole Miss fan means that we love all three, and every other sport our students participate in.

I've heard from some members of the band that they were so impressed with the Vanderbilt student section, not because they were the rowdiest or best, but because after the football game, they all stayed, stood, and sang to their Alma Mater.

Do any of us even know our Alma Mater? I've met seniors who didn't even know we had one! Yes, its plastered on all the cups this year. Yes, its posted around campus. But do you know it, by heart? If you heard the tune, could you even identify it, much less sing along to it? Do you even know the words?

I'll be the first to tell you that I don't. I have approximately 20 or so cups that have it printed on there, yet I do not know the Ole Miss Alma Mater.

So, when we were getting ready to leave the game, it warmed and saddened my heart when our song played. It warmed my heart to see the remaining student section come together to sing and sway to our Alma Mater, but it saddened me to see how little of people there were to participate, especially since the stadium was packed mere hours earlier.

And if that isn't bad enough, our student section was a quarter empty after the 1st quarter. Imagine being a football player, looking out into the crowd to see your supporters and a quarter of them are gone before the beginning of the 2nd quarter. And every time you look back as the game progresses, more and more are gone until a small portion is left over, cheering you on.

Now, imagine that you are any other athlete in a non-recognized sport. Imagine all the hours you put into training, all the things that you have to miss out on, just for no one to be there supporting you. How disappointed would you feel?

We are an SEC school! We are a big deal! We are in the best conference in the world, competing against some of the best athletes across the country, and as a student and fan of this school, we should show our support not only to the big three but to all of them!

I dare you to branch out and go watch another sport! Stay for the full game, even if it takes all day. Try a new sport, it could be your favorite! Do it for the free t-shirts, do it for the concessions, do it for the free or cheap admissions fee. I don't care why you do it, but be like Nike and "just do it!" That is how we can be better! That is how we can be a better Ole Miss fan!

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