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We had a busy little week didn’t we? The NCAA basketball tournament kicked into full gear. Texts from the world’s most famous golfer were made public, which revealed his propensity for going ATM and choking out porn stars. There was a week long hype over the Bruins grudge match with Matt Cooke and the Penguins (and the subsequent and expected half ass effort by the B’s Thursday night). Throw in an apocalyptic rainstorm early in the week, St. Paddy’s Day in the middle and the arrival of spring weather right after the aforementioned apocalyptic rainstorm, and we had ourselves quite a hectic few days.
So it’s understandable that news from Patriots camp would go slightly under noticed. Besides, it was just off-season workouts, and the story from those is always “who’s there” and “who’s not there.” Nothing too riveting when compared to March Madness, a monsoon, mid-week debauchery and a golfing sodomite.
And while normally I could give a rat’s ass whether some grown man shows up in Foxboro to run some sprints and hit the tackling sled when football season is still a good 5-6 months away, this year there was an absence that did catch my (and a few others) attention.
(And if you’re thinking Adalius Thomas’ absence is what caught my eye, you’re wrong. I let him slide this go around because apparently he “didn’t know” that there were even workouts, which makes sense because I’m sure he doesn’t own a cell phone, have an Internet connection or make contact with the outside world in any way whatsoever.)
No, what caught my eye is defensive end Ty Warren’s missing the first off-season workouts, or really, the reason for his missing them. Get this, Ty Warren, multi-millionaire athlete, skipped out on exercising and a $250,000 bonus for doing so in order to attend….wait for it….school.
Yes, you heard that correctly, instead of reporting to Foxboro to do some light weightlifting and jogging (and get paid a quarter million to do so, really I can’t stress that amount enough), Warren stayed home in Texas to work towards his degree at Texas A&M. But hey, it’s not just any degree mind you. It’s not like he’s passing up a cool quarter mill to become a doctor or a rocket scientist or something dumb like that. Oh no my friends, Ty Warren has decided to neglect the duties of his day job so he can earn a prestigious degree in agriculture leadership, which is the equivalent of getting a degree in how to be really good at playing Farmville. Retarded? You bet.
I get what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to show how a college degree is an important thing to have. And I agree with him. I believe possessing a college degree, especially in our society and culture is extremely important—if you’re not like Ty Warren.
College is a tool, not an accomplishment in itself. It’s for people like me who have no practical skills like carpentry or automotive repair, who can’t play sports at a highly competitive level, can’t act, sing, or create amazing pieces of art or music, or have played Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 enough to know that you wouldn’t last a minute as a soldier. For people who fit those qualifications, college is a great chance to learn a skill that can help make you useful to society and earn you money in order to buy cool crap.
But if you are good at one of those things, like Ty Warren is, you have no need for college. Furthermore, your need for acquiring a college degree is even less if you are in a financial situation that allows you to miss out on a $250k paycheck so you can play student for a few weeks.
Look, if Warren wants to get his degree and miss out on what most of us would consider a fortune, that’s fine. He’s a grown ass man and can do whatever the hell he wants as long as it falls within the acceptable standards we as a society have set. But please spare me the whole “he’s a role model,” “he’s a class act” speech. Because it’s bullcrap.
Being a role model is being a good family man, keeping your nose clean, working hard and using your God-given talents to the best of your ability. By that mark, Warren was a role model long before he decided to pull this little stunt. He didn’t need to sacrifice an ass-load of money and chase some phony degree in “agricultural leadership and development” to prove that. If anything, he’s only proving to us that he’s a goddamn moron, and trust me, no college diploma can cure that.
I don’t care if there’s going to be a lockout in 2011 and he thinks this will secure his future. He has enough money to get through it, and he’d have even more if he showed up in Foxboro this past week. I don’t care if he wants to be a community leader after his playing career, his NFL experience can help him achieve that. And I don’t care if he promised his kids he’d get his degree. Parents lie to their kids all the time. They tell them that there’s a Santa Claus or that they love all them all the same or that their birth occurring just five months after the wedding was “planned.”
The fact remains that Ty Warren is going to college though he has no practical reason to. He has willingly neglected to work on his natural ability to try to gain some artificial ability, and in the process lost enough money to put multiple kids through college. I’m not saying that this is villainous behavior, or that Ty Warren owes it to me or you to be at Patriots workouts, but I also wouldn’t dream to call what he’s doing the actions of a role model.
If I stop going to work to learn Portuguese, am I role model? If my friend quits his job so he can master the collective works of Shakespeare, is he a class act? No. We’re just dudes who stupidly quit our jobs in order to do something we could have done in our free time. Now, I don’t want to insult any agricultural leaders and developers out there, but I’m pretty sure that becoming one is a goal you can pursue part-time, and not require a person to put their normal job on hold to achieve.
Besides, if Ty Warren was so concerned about education, why didn’t he just use his bonus to set up a scholarship fund so kids can pursue their dreams in college like he was able to in the NFL? Then maybe kids who won’t get paid millions of dollars a year to push grown men or who may not otherwise be able to attend college due to financial restrictions can have a chance at an enjoyable and profitable career. Doesn’t that make more sense? Of f’ing-course it does. But you wouldn’t expect a sensible decision from someone who rather go to school for a degree he doesn’t need than get paid a quarter of a million dollars to work out for a couple days.
Ty Warren is a football player. Not an agricultural leader. Perhaps if he spent a little more time being the former, instead of pretending to be the latter, then we can call him a good role model. Until then, he’s just another guy who thinks that the only way to be successful and respected in this country is to have a piece of paper from a college proving you took some classes. He’s a guy who thinks that two Super Bowl rings, a successful playing career, a reputation as a community leader and a family man are meaningless without that ever so elusive college degree in agricultural leadership and development. He’s a guy that thinks that what’s right and necessary for some, is right and necessary for everyone. That isn’t the thinking of a role model. Or a class act. It’s the thinking of an ignorant man. An idiot. And I never thought I’d think that of Ty Warren. But perhaps I thought wrong.