News and Tribune

January 11, 2014

DODD: Have you heard all the U of L jokes?

By LINDON DODD
Local columnist

— Porcini’s —  Table for 4! A red U of L T-shirt with the Louisville sign serving as the L, in Adultery. Yes, as a lifelong U of L fan I am hearing the barbs and Bobby Petrino-U of L jokes. They surely will not go away soon. UK fans will be having a heyday at the Cards’ expense. It’s all a part of the sports’ world where the hiring or the firing (or resignation) of a successful athletic coach gets the same press as a news story about anything really important that happens in the world.

There is really only one reason Petrino was hired back as Louisville’s football coach. That’s his past winning record of 41 wins versus 9 losses.

I used to go to U of L football games when I could pay general admission prices and sneak down to the front row before the end of the game. There was never a 41-9 stretch of football games back then. It would have been closer to 9-41.

However, I am still sure of one thing. For any young coach that is hired at U of L the job is still considered a stepping stone position. The program has grown exponentially in the last couple of decades. However, there is still not a young, ambitious coach anywhere who would stay at Louisville when a Texas football program would offer them more than twice the salary and a legitimate shot at winning a national title.

I first of all have nothing but gratitude for Charlie Strong. He brought us Teddy Bridgewater and made U of L a program that was mentioned in the discussion of college football. For my money Teddy was the most talented and exciting player I have ever watched. Perhaps he might be the first quarterback from U of L that will make it in the NFL as an impact player since John Unitas. Someday there might be two statues.

Perhaps Petrino will still be the same coach-them-and-leave-them disloyal coach as before. Of one thing I am sure. The only thing that will matter for however long he stays at U of L will be the won-loss record. In sports the stories of redemption and forgiveness are plentiful. In every case the reason those stories are told has to do with success on the field. No matter how principled we can claim to be I can assure you that if Petrino goes 41-9 over the next few years Jurich will add to his legend as an athletic director.

I am reminded of an old, supposedly true story I read about a coach at the University of Texas who was at the opening kick-off banquet following a national championship season. As he was introduced to a standing ovation and was about to speak, a voice was heard loud and clear from somewhere in the room, “We love you, coach!”

The reigning national champion coach asked of the crowd, “Yeah, but will you still love me if we go 1-9 this season?”

The voice from the back of the room responded, “Yeah, and we’ll miss you, too!”



All Of Them Are Crooks!

I was in the office of an elected official in Clark County this past week one morning when my host told me they would be with me in a minute. As I waited they were handwriting a personal Thank You note. When finished, I was asked if I would listen to the note. It was a very personalized expression of gratitude but expressed a sentiment that the gift could not be accepted, but the goodwill and spirit of the gesture was very much appreciated. I was asked if I would be offended by any of it if I were the sender.

The accompanying gift card that was sent was put back into the envelope and was being sent back to the sender. Although the receiver stated that nothing had ever been asked by the sender, they deemed it inappropriate to accept the gift sent to them by the acquaintances.

For those of us who work in and around the courthouse it’s been quite a week. What will come out of it all is left to be seen.

What I have learned in more than two years of my current position is that the overwhelming majority of the people who work at 501 East Court Ave. work very hard and are not overly compensated. While it’s true that politics permeates the work force I didn’t really find the corporate world all that much different. The main difference is that since politics or any form of corruption that is funded by tax dollars seems a lot more exposed. Any corruption or thievery at the corporate level is simply paid for by the same taxpayers who purchase their goods and services.

I know there are some bad eggs in political office. However, many people I work with everyday come to their office and work hard. Many of them have a great sense of pride in their daily task. An overwhelming percentage of them are not elected officials, but simply clerical and support staff that carry out many essential functions of government without which our form of existence would not be possible.

You won’t read about them on the blogs or in bold headlines across the newspaper. Most of them will never be the target of a news story. Many will simply show up for work the next day sidestepping reporters to get to their office to be there when you are in need of an essential government service.

And the vast overwhelming majority will be as aghast at the story as you were and feel a slight bit of embarrassment at some of the same behavior that might get you steamed at the dinner table. Some of them have become people whom I look forward to seeing and working with everyday. Some have become people whose integrity and honest hard work ethic I admire and appreciate. Many I am proud to call my friends.

Please don’t lump everyone together when you openly write about and speak with condemnation. For those who do a disservice, let them be the target of your wrath if so deserved. Most courthouse workers  get the negative feedback from a sometimes demanding and rude public on a regular, daily basis.

Even then, every now and then someone returns a thank you gift that while not illegal but out of a sense of not having the appearance of impropriety, simply sends back the gift while still very genuinely appreciating the thought behind it. They are not all crooks.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com