Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods and the Media Circus

Tiger Woods was fully aware that whenever he finally broke his silence, there would be a media firestorm surrounding his comments.

I'm not sure ever he could have predicted this.

At 11 AM Friday morning, the world came to a virtual standstill for fifteen minutes while Tiger spoke to selected media, family and friends.

Perhaps the world didn’t stop, but America certainly paid close attention. The land of the free where the only thing we love more than seeing an underdog rise to the top, is seeing the mighty brought back down to human levels.

We have a seemingly insatiable desire for scandal in this country. Look no further than your supermarket checkout line for proof of the garbage gossip rags that some people actually read, and worse yet believe.

Once in a while, as is the case with the Woods story, these charlatans of journalism stumble upon a story that is actually true.

With a story this big however, it’s the legitimate media outlets losing their minds as well.

ESPN’s SportsCenter hasn’t shown any game highlights that I’ve been able to see. It’s been non-stop Tiger Woods coverage.

They even went so far as to bring in a body language expert to see if he was being sincere during his apology.

The top four headlines listed under “latest news” on were about Tiger Woods. Number four was, “Minaret collapse reportedly kills 11”.

Part of a mosque collapses in Morocco, and the top story is the reading of a prepared statement by an athlete.

And we have the gall to wonder why the world largely has a dim view of Americans?

People all over the Internet began the debate regarding his sincerity before Woods had even left the conference room.

The opinions seem to be split, with a slight lean towards people feeling he was insincere.

It’s amazing to me how many self-righteous individuals pop up whenever someone makes a public apology.

No one made him do that. It’s not a required part of the rehabilitation process Woods has been going through. He and his people likely decided long ago that he would make a statement when he was ready, and that time happened to be now between rehab sessions.

As for the folks questioning Tiger’s sincerity based on how uncomfortable he appeared, well, my response is, “duh”.

How would you feel reading even a prepared statement on national television, in a room filled with friends and professional colleagues?

Some have said, “He should have spoken from the heart”.

Again, I ask if anyone out there would feel comfortable admitting their own personal faults under that kind of microscope without prepared remarks?

All criticism aside, I just don’t care what Tiger did. It doesn’t matter to me. He hurt no one but himself and his family.

Growing up playing golf in the age of Tiger, I looked up to him not for the guy he was off the course, but for the impossible things he did on it.

I longed to blast outrageous drives down the middle of the fairway and hit absurd recovery shots from deep in the shade of towering pines.

I attempted to hone my focus and my short game to model the steely resolve Tiger has around the greens.

I even regrettably adopted Tiger’s penchant for anger and cursing on the course, something I’ve since been able to conquer as it’s the one part of Tiger’s game I’ve come to loathe.

And so, I’m far more critical of the media circus than I am of the man currently residing in the middle ring.

That is, until the circus packs up and moves on to the next town.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lane Stadium: The First Game

On October 2, 1965 Virginia Tech opened the still unfinished Lane Stadium with a 9-7 win over William & Mary.

The stadium has changed a great deal in the 45 years since. Tech has added nearly 24,000 seats over the initial capacity of 40,000 and it's without a doubt one of the top facilities in the nation.

While I fully intend to detail the stadium's history in the future, today's post was spurred on by a recent video released by the university showing footage of that very first game.

Also of note, three stadiums to my knowledge used the same initial blueprints; Lane Stadium, Grove Stadium at Wake Forest and Memorial Stadium at the University of Indiana.

Each facility has changed in it's own way over the years, Lane most noticeably, but you can tell they all started out the same. I've included an older Lane photo for comparison.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Is A 30 Second Super Bowl Ad Really Worth?

It's Super Bowl Sunday and you're sitting around the TV with your closest friends. Ten minutes to kickoff and your heart starts racing in anticipation of how the next 4.5 hours will dazzle and excite you. After at least one full week of planning and enthusiasm the time has finally come... for the first ad!

I know what you're thinking and the answer is "no." We here at Stars and Slights are not, like many Americans, more interested in the entertainment provided during the intermissions between possesion changes and mandated TV timeouts than the actual game.

Truth be told, though, we recognize the symbol if importance of paying close attention to the game outside of the real game: the competition for the "best" or "funniest" Super Bowl ad.

For just 30 easy payments of $100,000 you could find your advertisement, which probably cost at least $50,000 to produce, being viewed by nearly 40 million people worldwide.

Live sporting events, especially the Super Bowl, are one of the few remaining sources for advertisers to keep viewers tuned in rather than channel surfing to avoid advertisements. With that privilege comes a very steep price but, for many advertisers, the benefit of 40 million viewers and impressions outweighs the cost to produce and place an ad during "the big game."


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