Roy Exum: My Sunday Morning Insult

Monday, September 02, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Sunday mornings in the fall, beginning right at daybreak, are very magical for me. For the majority of my life I’ve read just about every word and every article in the newspaper’s sports section this time of year. College football has been a huge part of my life for almost half a century – I love everything about it -- but yesterday I came within seconds of letting an unknown jerk steal some precious minutes from me.

My deal is that I get my coffee, my dog and my cigar on the back porch and thumb through the sports section fast, my thirst for scores intense. Then I go back to the front page and methodically read every story from beginning to end. Unfortunately, my reading included a “Letter to Sports” that a bandwagon fan named David Betty had written to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

One of Life’s Rules, right at the top of the list, is that a man should never embarrass himself, most particularly if it’s on purpose. But Betty’s letter, entitled “Mocs again a big letdown,” released a long string of memories where very shallow UT-Chattanooga boosters have made me wince. For years I have wondered why some people lose every trace of class, poise, and sportsmanship when they put on Blue-and-Gold. I am mystified by it.

This isn’t all of UTC’s fans, not at all, but David Betty has got that disgusting whine that comes every time the leaves turn colors and, Great Golly, the Mocs are just one game into the season! Here is how Betty’s letter to the newspaper read:

* * *

“Same ol’ Mocs. Again Chattanooga is let down by Russ (Huesman) and his Mocs. He was soundly beaten by the man he beat out for the job.

“All the hype has turned into a windstorm instead of a hurricane that was predicted. Russ tries to make his son the star when everyone knows that (Terrell) Robinson is the heart and soul of the team. He won’t run the big back (Keon) Williams, like he should (5 yards a carry isn’t bad). Coach, your son is good but you don’t put it all on his back.

“Maybe the coach who won on Thursday night should have been the one hired. Enough of the promises. We are tired of broken dreams.”

David Betty

* * *

David, not only did you just embarrass yourself, you embarrassed many good and loyal Chattanooga supporters who have been the backbone of the program instead of Good-time Charlies like you that seem to come around all too often. Nothing you can say, write or spew will make Russ Huesman or his players feel any worse than they already do. But for you to incite malice between the players – Huesman vs. Robinson, or mumble about Williams’ lack of carries – clearly shows your lack any knowledge of the game as well as any compassion, loyalty or support in a season that has hardly begun.

Any opposing coach knows a key element to UTC’s offense is to have Huesman and Robinson in the game at the same time. Jacob’s arm and Terrell’s hands and feet are a dual combination feared throughout the Southern Conference. What if Terrell had been healthy and could have played in the opener? He most certainly would have helped.

As it was, Huesman wanted to get him healthy for the road ahead.  Keon Williams will get plenty of carries, but his skills as a blocker are superb. When a quarterback is fighting for every inch, a guy like Keon is just as valuable blocking would-be tacklers.

You bashed the coach but, from where I sit, Russ Huesman has UTC’s total football program at the highest place I have ever seen it, and that’s after 47 years of watching pretty closely. Actually, Thursday’s loss could be a Godsend, reminding players and staff alike that there are no “gimmees” in college football. That’s what makes the game so wonderful, and then somebody like Bandwagon David comes along.

Are you kidding me? A record eight FBS teams (big schools) lost to FCS opponents (little schools) over the weekend: Georgia State (Samford), Iowa State (Northern Iowa), Kansas State (North Dakota State), No. 25 Oregon State (Eastern Washington) San Diego State (Eastern Illinois), South Alabama (Southern Utah), UConn (Towson) and South Florida (McNeese). Bandwagon David is the type that laughs at the big losers; I happen to be the type that delights in the little winners.

The Southern Conference, a dismal 2-7 in openers, is still very wide open and UTC has an outstanding chance to win it. Elsewhere in the Sunday sports section, Huesman said the Mocs missed 36 tackles in the 31-21 loss to UT-Martin. Chattanooga is 10 times better than that because the team has clearly demonstrated the players know how to hit. Any player knows an arm tackle is a missed tackle. That can be fixed quickly.

No, this was simply a case where the Mocs came out flat. Too many press clippings, too big an ego, not focused, “We got an All-American”? Whatever the reason it happens, and the same thing happened to half the teams in the country Saturday. Yes, the Mocs were out-played and out-coached but to smear Huesman with the taunt that UTC hired the wrong coach is cruel and childish. Both Jason Simpson and Russ are personal friends of mine and they are each where they can succeed and do well.

I’ll admit I was disappointed UTC lost the opener because guys like Bandwagon David will shrink the Finley Stadium crowd. The fringe UTC followers are notoriously fickle and have been for years. Good riddance, I say. But I know Chattanooga is better than they showed. The season is young. The conference race is going to be great fun with the best collection of athletes ever assembled to answer the call.

The lesson I learned yesterday is not to read anymore “Letters to Sports.” I refuse to allow a guy like Bandwagon David to take away my joy or put a dent in my Sunday mornings. What an embarrassment in Blue-and-Gold.

royexum@aol.com


Thanks To The East Ridge Police For Cleaning Up

I want to thank the East Ridge Police Department for cleaning up my neighborhood. In just the past week there have been three arrests made on my street alone for drugs. Please keep up the good work. There is still a need. I'd hate to see anyone left behind.   You wouldn't believe how the traffic and activity has slowed down. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.  ... (click for more)

No To The Gas Tax - And Response

Americans are finally catching a break at the gas pumps after more than 1,245 days of gas over a national average of $3 a gallon and what do members of both parties want to do, they want to tax you more on a gallon of gas. Haslam, Corker  and Washington D.C. want to talk about raising gas taxes.  Tennesseans already pay 39.8 cents (18.4 federal and 21.4 state) on every ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building. MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

UTC Cagers Upset No.7 Stanford

"Defense kept us in the game and our fans are great!." UTC sophomore Moses Johnson after the 54-46 win.   The giant killer has done it again. Relying on hustle, determination, key 3-pointers and 10 made free throws down the stretch the Chattanooga Mocs defeated visiting No.7 Stanford women 54-46 Wednesday at McKenzie Arena. Playing before 2,128 cheering ... (click for more)

Vols Land 4-Star JUCO Running Back Alvin Kamara

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has signed junior college four-star running back Alvin Kamara, who is from Norcross, Ga., and originally signed with Alabama and then transferred to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Information on Kamara: ALVIN KAMARA R-Sophomore • Running Back • 5-11 • 200 Norcross, Ga. • Norcross H.S./Alabama/Hutchinson ... (click for more)