April 18, 2014
Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.
We caught Derek Mason's outstanding talk to campus public affairs personnel earlier this week. Nobody in the audience of 100 left with anything but pride in our coach and his program and optimism about the future of our football future. It isn't his sales pitch that excites people (he doesn't come across as a salesman), it's the depth of his character and conviction to all-around excellence. He is a fabulous fit on our university, a coach grooming "Vanderbilt Men" on and off the field. His experience at Stanford as the Cardinal transitioned from the high profile Jim Harbaugh to the lesser known David Shaw -- only to enjoy even more success -- is invaluable.
We don't keep records of such but we have had more than our fair share of off-beat athletic related stories in the news. We say athletic-related because some are several degrees removed from our department. And as local residents in particular realize, a couple of these stories have gotten considerable air time and ink. It's the world in which we live and the curiosities our society seems to share. We could pitch an idea that we have a student-athlete graduating No. 1 in the class and it might get two sentences on a slow news day. Somebody paints a face on a Nashville building and it almost leads the newscast.
A tip of the cap to women's tennis and its splendid coach Geoff Macdonald. The Commodores earned the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament by beating a very good South Carolina team on the road, using a walk-on when two of our top guns were sidelined by injury. In some ways, it was one of the more remarkable tennis victories we've ever had.
We returned from last weekend's NCAA Bowling Championship with a fifth place finish and even more lessons in the nuances and complexities of collegiate bowling. Thinking that birthday party you hosted for your fourth-grader at the bowling center equates to big-time bowling is like believing that subtraction is similar to calculus.