Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apparently, You Have to Have Smarts to Use Pom-Poms

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it and read it in print. The Dallas Cowboys give their prospective cheerleading candidates a written quiz that helps in the selection process each year. You could be an amazing dancer with incredible energy, but show the intelligence of a house plant, and there’s a good chance you won’t be picked as a Cowboys cheerleaders. Never mind the instant hypocrisy of having this quiz given to the women on the team but none of the football staff, it just strikes me as having a complete different standard for some employees than others.

I get that it’s important for prospective football players to have talent and a rudimentary knowledge of football terms and plays, but these guys also get interviewed in public all the time. So why not test them to show some smarts, or at least the ability to carry on a simple conversation when needed as part of the draft process? The Wunderlich test does some of this, but it’s also determined that this test doesn’t measure football performance, which is still the benchmark for making personnel decisions. Character and poise, while important characteristics, don’t matter as much for some teams if you have talent and speed. Well, unless you want to shake pom-poms apparently.

Congratulations are due to Mandjou Keita of the Portland Timbers, who won the 2009 scoring title with his 11 goal, 7 assist performance this year. It has been a very special year for the lads in green and white, and it’s great to see Keita get some recognition for his work this season. I haven’t covered the team as much lately here because of my other work on the Interwebs, but you are always welcome to check out my work there. We still have a playoff season to cover, and I plan to post some regular entries over the winter about player news, team news, and anything Timbers related on my blog home there. I’m happy to be doing it, and still keep things going over here writing about whatever things I like. I just like writing, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together.

Finally, the Oregon football team continues to make news this year, and not just because of their recovery from the Boise State debacle and the aftermath.
News recently surfaced that a Duck alumnus who was frustrated at the team’s performance in Boise wrote football coach Chip Kelly, and asked for a refund of his travel expenses. Kelly contacted the letter writer to confirm his address, and then sent him a check to reimburse him for his travel expenses.

The alum, Tony Seminary, didn’t know what to expect when he got a response to his letter asking for his address. When he received the check, he made a copy of it for display, and then sent it back to Kelly with a note of thanks. It takes quite a bit of guts to not only read your hate mail, but to put up your own money to back your program shows some confidence in what’s going on, too. But then again, we’ve already heard about what Kelly is as a coach and person. Even with the craziness of losing to the Broncos to start the season and dealing with the end of game drama, Kelly showed remarkable courage and fortitude to pick up his players after the result, and make his point that one game doesn’t make a season.
Having a nationally syndicated columnist follow you during your first game as a head football coach in the Pac 10 would be stressful enough, but then add in the other factors, and you see how extraordinary Kelly is. He’s showing me an incredible fortitude and belief in his program and players, and I think Oregon will be just fine once the dust settles. Winning starts with having a leader to believe in, and I have no doubt the Ducks football team has that person running the show. It’s going to be a fun ride watching this group take flight.

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