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The Idle American
May I Quote You on That?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 • Posted October 19, 2011

Surely clever t-shirt messages will pop up any day now. They’ll flow from creative juices of Texas Christian University students whose athletic teams have been members of four different athletic conferences over the past dozen years. “We gave the Big East $5 million, and all we got were these lousy shirts,” the message might read. (Another one bound to pop up: “We aren’t military veterans, but we all have purple hearts.”)TCU’s most recent hook-up with the Big East Conference lasted months instead of years. Since the Frogs essentially got out before they got in, they can boast of an “undefeated, untied BEC record.” TCU’s trustees are “gung ho” about the Big 12 invite, voting unanimously to sign on for competition in 2012. Never mind the $5 million “exit fee” for the U-turn from the BEC; TV revenues will ease the pain. And the Frogs get to renew competition with many of the same schools that were members of the old Southwest Conference, where they battled for 65 years, 1929-1995….******Good for TCU and its Big 12 decision. Regional rivalries will abound, and when the Frogs play the University of Texas, they can dust off an old quote former Longhorn Coach Darrell Royal wished he’d left unsaid 50 years ago. His “bulletin board clipping” revved the Frogs up enough to defeat the ‘Horns, 6-0 in the 1961 game, tumbling UT from top national ranking.“The Horned Frogs are like a cockroach,” Royal said. “It’s not what he gets into and carries away but what he falls into and messes up.” It’s been quoted a jillion times over the past half-century.Royal was kidding, of course, but the TCU faithful took it seriously….*****About the same time, an equally classic quote came from another coach during the annual meeting of Lone Star Conference officials and coaches at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) in San Marcos.LSC leaders were considering McMurry College’s membership application.The late Gil Steinke, who coached several great football teams at Texas A&I, contended that McMurry didn’t have a well-rounded athletic program….*****That’s when the late Milton Jowers, long-time Southwest Texas coaching genius who won national small-college championships in both football and basketball, made a wry comeback, abetting McMurry’s candidacy.Jowers, a tough-as-nails coach not known for smiling, felt that football was king at Texas A&I, while most other team sports languished.“What do you know about well-rounded programs, Gil?” Jowers laughed. “Your track team came to the spring meet on a motorcycle with a side car!”…*****In those days, it was fairly common for colleges of all sizes to emphasize certain sports.During one stretch, TCU’s basketball program was lackluster. The Frogs once played the College of Santa Fe from New Mexico.“Oh, my goodness,” a sportswriter exclaimed, “TCU has scheduled a railroad!”…*****Some quotes should never be repeated—better yet, never uttered to begin with.Regrettably, television sports coverage too often includes basest comments. It’s one thing to “lip read” ill-advised epithets, but when vulgarity at its very worst is expressed, networks should be embarrassed—whether the person speaking is or not.Nyjer Morgan, a hero for the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League baseball play-offs, repeatedly spewed vulgarity I’d never heard on network television. Couldn’t Turner Broadcasting System invoke a 10-second delay to avoid such a needless and unfortunate litany of post-game vulgarity?...*****Uncle Mort thrives on quotes, particularly his own. While Oklahoma fans “yukked it up” after the Sooner’s 55-17 wipe-out of Texas, my 99-year-old kin said he now understands why UT has its own “Longhorn Sports Network.”“They can feature selective programming, showing games from years past when the Horns’ scores were top heavy,” he said. “I think they call ‘em ‘re-runs.’”He offered one final shot: “If they happen to show a ‘bad’ game oldie, they can end it early by switching to Heidi. Should they accidentally air the 2011 Cotton Bowl bloodbath, surely they’ll run a banner at the bottom of the TV screen, explaining, “The problem is NOT with your set.”…*****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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