The Rest of the Iceberg

I have always been interested in this guy. My interest is rooted in a foggy memory of him quitting the football team at Ohio State (now The Ohio State University) back in the early 90’s because they would not let him study enough. I thought, wow, this guy must have some standards. He talks about this incident and takes much of the burden on himself. Smith admits that he skipped classes in early summer and wanted to back out of certain workouts so he could catch up. This caused him to butt heads with Coach Cooper and the new emphasis on physical conditioning, so Smith just quit. It was a completely uncool move by Smith and I actually feel sorry for Coach Cooper and his assistant, both of whom were implicated by a scathing SI article. But then again, Cooper was a bumbling idiot when it came to football.

Smith is arrogant, I’m talking really arrogant. But, I didn’t expect anything different from this book. He’s very intelligent with great athletic gifts. He starred at Ohio State and in the NFL. He’s very accomplished and this is, after all, his autobiography, so just by the fact that he undertook this project means he probably has some sort of “exaggerated sense of his own importance” (Mac OSX dictionary). It’s a pretty basic retelling of his life. Well, at least the first 181 pages are. The last 40 pages are Smith sounding off on a variety of topics that he is pretty well-versed in. These topics range from why athletes are not overpaid to religion in schools.

Let me analyze a couple quotes from the book.

The college scouts were making regular stops at the school (his high school) and my list of favorites was narrowed to five: Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (Florida), USC, and UCLA. I thought these schools would give me the chance to excel both on the field and in the classroom. I had wanted to be a doctor since I was a young boy and all of these universities had highly rated medical schools.

I guess that last sentence portrays why Notre Dame was not on the list, they don’t have a medical school. But why not consider them Robert? It’s less than four hours from your home, has a great football program (in the middle of the Holtz revival), and is highly respected academically. Maybe it was because you knew you would not see the field with Ricky Watters, Jerome Bettis, Rodney Culver, and Tony Brooks competing for carries. Hmmm, just a thought, but maybe I’m the arrogant one.

How about this one regarding “overpaid athletes,” quoted in the book from a USA Today article that he wrote.

If Americans didn’t spend so much time watching and reading about sports, then athletes wouldn’t be paid as much as they are. It’s a shame, but I’m sure more Americans know who the center for the LA Lakers is than those who know who the Senate majority leader is.

Well, I can’t really take issue with this. It could be because I never complain about overpaid athletes since my top two spectator sports are professional golf and college football. In golf, participants are paid for performance. In college football, participants are not paid. So, I guess I don’t have anything to complain about. Cool.

Or, it could be that I don’t take issue with this because I don’t know who the Senate Majority leader is (Harry Reid). But then again, I don’t know who the center for he LA Lakers is (Andrew Bynum). What does that make me (don’t say village idiot)?

I don’t recommend this book. There are much better football books out there and I think of this as a niche book that may be interesting to people from Ohio or people that want marijuana legalized. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. I liked it because even though I don’t agree with many of Smith’s views, they are thought provoking. Additionally, I do love college football and there was a lot of good stuff here that I did not know. It was good just to see Tyrone Willingham’s name because Ty was Smith’s first running backs coach when Smith started with Vikings. I always liked Ty.