Randy Smith: Is Watching Sports Today Really A “Messed-Up” Concept?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

My son noticed this past weekend that I don’t watch as much sports on television as I used to. He asked my wife what was wrong with me? I hadn’t really noticed a big difference. If there was a game on TV that featured a team I wanted to pull for, I watched it. For instance, I watched the Monday Night Football game on ESPN because Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos were playing.  If the New York Yankees are on TV, I watch their games. I watch the Tennessee Volunteers play any time they’re on the tube, in any sport, but to simply tune in to watch a game just because it’s on TV is something I never do any more.

I guess after years of covering stories like the Aaron Hernandez murder accusations in Boston, or the Barry Bonds steroid controversy has soured my outlook on the sports world. The Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal of 2011 almost ruined sports for me on any level.

In America, we actually cheer and pull for athletes who make millions of dollars, yet sometimes do horrible things. This has been called a “really messed-up concept” and I agree wholeheartedly.

In 2008, when the University of Tennessee fired head football coach Phillip Fulmer, I actually covered that story as well as the search for his replacement. I seemed to be in a daze every day as I worked to cover the story. I was mad, hurt and had completely lost faith in those “powers that be” in Knoxville to do the right thing. A few months after Fulmer was dismissed at Tennessee, I went through the same thing as WRCB-TV dismissed me as sports director because they didn’t want to pay me anymore.

So if you’re like my son and wondering what’s wrong with me because I don’t watch as much sports on TV anymore, maybe I answered your question. Now, I simply have some other interests. I would rather watch a good movie than a good ball game on TV unless it features someone or some team that I pull for.

In 2013, you must really look hard to find good sports stories. A couple of weeks ago my good friend Ron Bishop announced he was bringing in Yankee pitching great Andy Pettitte to speak at a fund-raising banquet in November. When I called Coach Bishop about securing tickets and buying a table, he told me it was to raise money for an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Andy Pettitte had already written a huge check to SCORE International for the orphanage, and was coming to town in November to help raise more money for it. That my friends is a good sports story.

I haven’t lost faith in my fellow man, but I have lost faith in our society’s ability to distinguish between sports stars and real every day heroes. Police officers, fire fighters, military personnel, and teachers are among our true heroes. They’re on the front lines each and every day and doing it for meager pay. When that changes, maybe I’ll watch more sports on television. Until then, I’ll look forward to watching the season premiere of Criminal Minds.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Lookouts' Daniel Palka Named Southern League Hitter Of The Month

 The Southern League has announced that Chattanooga Lookouts’ All-Star Daniel Palka has been named its Player of the Month for the month of June. The Lookouts outfielder’s month got off to a great start when he slugged two home runs in back-to-back games against the Birmingham Barons. Palka followed that up with another outstanding week where he hit .345 (10-for-29) with ... (click for more)

Lookouts Bounce Back Beating Wahoos Thursday, 7-3

Pensacola, Fl..  Chattanooga tagged the Blue Wahoos relievers to go on to win, 7-3, in front of 4,884 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Ryan Eades improved to 5-3 with six strong innings. He gave up just one run on four hits. He walked three and struck out six. Jake Reed worked the next two innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and two hit batters. He did strike out four. Mason ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Man Charged In Traffic Death Of Tunnel Hill Woman, 28

Authorities said a Signal Mountain man was driving when his vehicle struck and killed a woman walking along a road at Ringgold, Ga., on Thursday night. Tyler Alexander Lemley, 20, was charged with DUI. Other charges are pending. Kimberly Diane Dotson, 28, of Tunnel Hill, Ga., was walking southbound on the west edge of Sam Lewis Road when she was hit. Lemley was driving ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Woman Sues Over Treatment Of Disabled Daughter At Memphis Airport Security Checkpoint

A Chattanooga woman has filed suit, alleging that her disabled daughter was roughed up by airport police and Transportation Security Administration personnel at the Memphis Airport. Shirley Cohen said she was returning to Chattanooga after taking her 19-year-old daughter to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for treatment. The lawsuit filed in Memphis says the daughter ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Man’ To Leave Marines

There are some institutions in the history of America that should be above the nauseating “political correctness” that is undermining America. One of the biggest is most certainly the United States Marine Corps. But Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has apparently and most unfortunately gone soft and the word is that in the coming days about 25 words that are primary to the Corps ... (click for more)