Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Coach's Corner

By Andy "Coach" Cotton

JULY 27, 1998:  I'm back from a long vacation, feeling rested, with a new, refreshing, sanguine take on the world around me. So, I got to thinking about the worst things that have happened in the past 20 years or so.

The rise of the special prosecutor comes quickly to mind. Watergate was the first time I remember a special prosecutor at all, let alone one who was a major public figure. Since then, the special prosecutor thing has snowballed until today. If a public official crops the ears of his Doberman, an animal rights association will demand a special prosecutor be employed to look into the cruel past - Waffen SS maybe? - of the inhumane ear cropper.

There's the elevation of talk radio into a real political and social force. The genre has been around forever, of course, except that forever ago, people were sensible enough to understand that the majority of the folk who inhabit talk-radio-land are nut-jobs. Talk radio hosts, most of whom have no more knowledge about farm subsidies than you do, are elevated to the status of the biblical prophet. Rush Limbaugh himself was organizing bat days for the K.C. Royals before becoming the stalking horse of his breed.

Yes, talk radio is a bad thing. The Cowboys winning three Super Bowls was very bad. Yes, bad, bad, and many more things, but I only have 900 words, so I need to get to the point.

The suffocating wet blanket of Political Correctness is the worst of them all. In this area, Austin's at ground zero: the most politically correct spot in North America. A guy can't think of telling a good lesbo joke any more, or even laughing at one, for fear of being drawn into an ugly scene with an offended party. A good racial joke? Jokes about Jewish women, or brothers from Eastern Europe? Better watch out.

The world of sports has not been spared the self-righteous arrows of the politically correct. It seemed to begin with the head-scratching hue and cry from those who felt bad about what happened at Wounded Knee some 120 years ago. Athletic teams whose mascots had anything to do with our Native American friends came under fire. Indians, Braves, Howlin' Comanches, and Reds became gauche. Old Chief Knockahoma once resided in a nice tent out in the bullpen of Atlanta County Stadium. He'd come out and do a little war dance around the tent whenever Dale Murphy hit a home run. Chief Knockahoma just disappeared. Poof. Another disenfranchised Indian Chief. A victim on the altar of PC.

Next came Title IX, which forced colleges to give equal money and scholarships to girl softball players, and build them swell fields too, so their mom and dad can come see them play, in the process watering down the sports that people actually want to watch. Woe to the man who says a bad word about Title IX. I'm not one of those men.

Once every four years, soccer enters the list of PC. Raoul Hernandez and Taylor Holland were kind enough to fill in for me the past few weeks, so you soccer wackos got two weeks of soccer. I'm happy for you. Indeed, saying a discouraging word about the "world's game" will get you blasted by all the soccer moms and dads, who are ubiquitous in this town. The Statesman featured six bitchy letters to the editor, tsk-tsking any wayward columnist not as yet touched by The Light. Sadly, my own father, who five years ago didn't know Pelé from Play Dough, resides in this group.

Even I fell victim to a soccer dad attack in my own paper for making the rather bland observation that not too much happened in a soccer game. The fact that I hold a middle course in the raging soccer debate works to my detriment here. I don't hate the game. It's okay. I watched some entire World Cup games, which is more than I can say for any WNBA game. Maybe in 100 years, when this country becomes over 50% Spanish-speaking, it will become a big sport here. Until then, forget it. And for this moderate opinion, some would have me strung and quartered on a goal post in Zilker Park. In the world of the true believer, standing between the "Soccer's a Game for Street Beggars" and the "God (himself) Is a Goalie" groups leaves a reasonable fellow - such as me - without a friend.

And finally, there's the WWHM (Women Who Hate Marv). As you may not be aware, Marv Albert's been rehired to broadcast basketball. The WWHM are in a tizzy. One lady reasonably suggests this is the same as giving O.J. his own TV show. Zealots say insane things and I can chuckle, but when zealots have power, people start getting burned at stakes. The Marv saga is, and has been from day one, a most PC issue. I never understood what he did so wrong in the first place. But of course, I'm just a guy. I wrote something to that effect at the time and I got e-mail - not much of it supportive of my Neanderthal position. I'm glad Albert's back. He's not O.J. or Lawrence Phillips. Nevertheless, women's rights groups all want a piece of poor Marv's ratty toupee.

Ah, well, anyway. Hey, did you hear the one about the rabbi, the black beer salesman, and the homosexual rabbit?

Slap me some email at Coach36@aol.com.

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