The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







2013 Imbecile of the Year Candidate

by Jerry Keys

The world of journalism is not for everyone. Writing stories pertaining to your personal hobby or favorite summer vacation as a youth are not too difficult. Gathering fragments, similar to puzzle pieces, and fitting them together are not as easy. Throw in the fact the story may consist of information the writer knows nothing or very little about. In the fifteen years I have contributed to The People News, one could count the number of times I wrote about college football...on one hand.

Being a D-I (division one) college football coach entails numerous hours of practice, film study and strategies with other coaches. The coach is expected to succeed immediately or someone else who desires to be a D-I coach will be 'standing by the AD's (athletic director) door every afternoon.' The job carries long hours, stress, and little or no time for the 'wife 'n kids.' Did I mention the job paid exceptionally well? Even if the school is not in the 'Alabama or Ohio State class,' the job is highly sought after by many.

Jerry Keys

To simply make it to the head coaching level at D-I, would be equivalent to not only making it to the major leagues as a baseball player but to make an All-Star team. To be fruitful at this level, if only for a short time, would be along the same line as being a perennial All-Star....maybe comparable to Dale Murphy in the early 1980's. To turn a school into a powerhouse...maybe equal to a baseball player making the Hall. The latter and, to be honest, the other levels could be up for debate.

What would not be up for debate, in my opinion, was the sports story written by Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill had suffered a seizure on the field against Western Illinois. The seizure occurred near halftime and he missed the second half of the game. The following day, Souhan quipped a story containing the following comments:

"How can a school continue to employ a football coach who has had four seizures during or after the sixteen home games he has coached?"

"The face of your program can't belong to someone who may be rushed to the hospital at any moment of any game."

"No one who buys a ticket should be rewarded with the sight of a middle-aged man writhing on the ground. This is not how you compete for sought-after players and entertainment dollars."

I did have a few questions to ask. 1. Sorry Jimbo....someone cannot just will a seizure to occur or not to. Did you have a secret desire to become the head coach and just may have a speck of jealousy for Kill? 2. What about coaches who have heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, ruptured appendix, etc? Do coaches at Minnesota need to sign a waiver with the university where if they are rushed to the hospital during the game, practice, or press conference, their salary for that week may and should be forfeited? 3. Jimbo, did you have money on the game and due to Kill's episode, in your eyes, it cost you the bet (as in not covering the spread) and blame it on the malady you are describing?

I can answer these three questions with a maybe, a 'don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen', and another maybe. One thing which is not a maybe is my thoughts on your 'piece of work' written on September 15, 2013. I took it as a trash-filled, putrid display of letter-connecting (calling it written word is above it). It showed Souhan's lack of intelligence, failure to research topic presented, and absence of integrity. Being a Twins fan, I have gazed upon the Star Tribune often and always considered it to be a first rate newspaper. This view was dispelled because there was an editor who read Souhan's garbage after he wrote it and approved it for print.

Ironically the paper issued an apology indicating it meant "no insensitivity to(wards) epilepsy or any other disability." Was anyone actually shocked? To my understanding, epilepsy is not even a disability. Did the Star Tribune mean to categorize it as one? If the newspaper meant to, are they suggesting everyone with epilepsy should be removed from their jobs and placed on disability? I do find it odd, Kill's doctors gave him a positive bill of health before the season being fully aware he had epilepsy.

In Souhan's defense, epilepsy is treated differently than almost any other condition. Thirty years ago, it was widely perceived AIDS could be transmitted by kissing, hugging, even by contaminated water fountains via using their hands to propel the water. Not much was known about AIDS at that time. In 2013, not much is known about epilepsy. Yet, in comparison to what was known thirty years ago, the medical community has made trident gains.

In the early 1980's there were only two types of seizures categorized, petit mal and grand mal. Today, there are over three dozen.

Then, if you had this affliction you would not find expertise on it in Cleveland, or Chattanooga for that matter. Seizures have reported to have been around for thousands of years but only recent studies have begun to indicate breakthroughs. There are three million known individuals with cases of seizures today. Many others have seizures and are unaware of them or are not reported.

There are two basic types of seizures, a seizure and an epileptic seizure. A seizure is "an event, a short circuit, spark in the brain." An epileptic seizure is a "continual, unprovoked occurrence in the brain and medication to combat these is recommended." Medication can assist in halting the seizures but is no guarantee in permanently ending seizures. Certain medications affect some differently than others. Tegretol is used to treat seizures and is an anticonvulsant. "It attempted to eliminate seizures by calming the electrical activity in the brain. Common side effects were dizziness, drowsiness, coordination difficulty, nausea, headaches, and blurry/double vision." Whereas in certain cases, some experience "depression, anxiety, withdrawal from society."

Many believe the reason epilepsy continues to receive vilified perceptions is the way it is viewed in Hollywood and the media. It was not too many years ago, comedians made jokes about people who had seizures, churches saw ones with seizures as 'witches', and those with seizures were told to relinquish their driver's license for inappropriate lengths of time (today you are to abstain from driving for six months after the latest seizure). Immaculate studies are being completed on the study of epilepsy but it is still a work in progress. This was evidently proven by the ignorant literature written about a college coach who has epilepsy.

To conclude the article, I would like to give thanks and appreciation to three players who retired this week. Todd Helton, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte.

Helton and Rivera spent their entire careers with one team, Pettitte spent several years with his hometown Astros, but was a Yankee before and after the short sabbatical. Rivera's save record may never be broken. His 652 saves is almost double what the old record was when Rollie Fingers retired in 1985. The core Yankee 4 are now down to 1, with Jorge Posada being their first to retire. Derek Jeter is the last one standing. If Jeter cannot bounce back next year, he may call it a career after 2014. I hope not. He has a few more players to pass on the all-time hits list.

Last but not least, Bud Selig announced his impending retirement as commissioner in 2015. Most pundits were showering him with great accolades. I admit he did a good thing here and there, but even those are up for debate. But the one thing I cannot see him shirking is his blind spot to the steroid use in baseball. It took ten years before any type of testing was implemented and another five before it garnished any 'teeth.' Selig knew it was out there. How do I know? I knew it was and if I knew, there is no way in the world he did not.