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).



Boykin, Carr Win Black Knight Wrestling Invite Titles

Seniors Scottie Boykin and Bryce Carr bounced back from losses in Friday’s dual against No. 8 Virginia Tech by posting impressive wins at the Black Knight Invite in West Point, N.Y., today.  The Mocs had 12 of their 15 entries place in the tournament hosted by Army West Point.   Boykin improved to 8-1 with two decision and an 8-0 major over Binghampton’s Mark Tracy ... (click for more)

2017 THSCAA All-State Soccer Teams

THSCAA All State DII A Forwards Livi Tanzer 9 St Georges Olivia Hoffman 12 CCS Maddy Stolnicki 12 ECS Caroline Betts 8 CPA Courtney Rabb 12 USN Holeh Heydari 12 USJ Faith Gober 11 DCA Midfielders Ruth Fitzgerald 12 St Georges Emma Bennett 11 St Georges Addie Henry 11 CCS Vayle McKay 12 CPA Emily ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning; 1 Is Killed; 2 Victims Are Known Gang Members

Ladarius Cross, 28, Terrance Careathers, 26, and a juvenile were shot early Saturday morning. Cross was killed.   Chattanooga Police responded to a motor vehicle crash at 5:16 a.m. in the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police Officers located the single vehicle crash with two people suffering for apparent gunshot wounds. The driver, ... (click for more)

CSAS Teacher Who Was Once Reported Missing Facing DUI Charge

A teacher at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, who recently was reported missing and then was spotted, has now been arrested. John Albert Eaton, 44, was arrested Sunday in Red Bank on a DUI charge. He gave his address as 9580 Sweet Gum Lane, Soddy Daisy. Eaton's wife had reported him missing after she said he told her he was going to the school on a Sunday afternoon ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)