USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Crazy Warwick, RI is getting rid of high school sports

John Rooke
June 21, 2019 - 10:56 am

Thinking out loud…while pondering the boys of summer…until the NFL saves us from the dog days of summer…

 

  • Wanna be a hero?  Got $1.4 million laying around?  That’s what it will take to fund Warwick, Rhode Island school sports for the next year.  After that, insanity will more than likely rear its’ ugly head again.  Watch, you’ll see.

 

  • I’m flabbergasted, really, about the City of Warwick eliminating its’ high school sports programs this week.  Beyond the obvious, immediate craziness and stupidity involved here, how did a city of this size (2nd largest in RI) let itself get into this kind of financial mess in the first place?

 

  • Shame.  Shame on every adult who has had a hand in budgeting, governing and in decision-making when it comes to the educational process in that city.  The majority of district spending is tied up in fixed costs – especially contractual obligations.  Shame on every person on the giving or receiving end of the city’s collective bargaining process that has helped lead your kids to this ‘failure.’

 

  • Hey, it’s not my problem, right?  Well, it is now.

 

  • Cut textbooks and clubs.  Cut teachers and teaching assistants.  Cut sports, too?  Might as well cut the heart of the community right out of its’ chest and leave it in the open so everyone can see it wither. 

 

  • And die.

 

  • “I’d like to think they (school committee) aren’t using the emotions of our young people as a bargaining chip,” was the quote Warwick mayor Joseph Solomon gave to the Boston Globe Wednesday.  Regardless of whether sports somehow survive this fiasco or not, damage has been done.

 

  • Undoing it would be akin to pulling a knife from the heart and saying, “oops, my bad.” 

 

  • I believe I can make the argument that No More Sports = No More Schools.  What is left?  Schoolboy and schoolgirl athletics in public schools are every bit as important, if not more so, as reading, writing and math. 

 

  • The lessons that athletics teach?  The only lessons I truly remember from that age are the ones I learned on a playground, a court or a field.

 

  • So here you go, kids.  Here’s today’s educational lesson learned through this fiasco, one that should stay with you for the rest of your life, so you don’t repeat it:  Adults make mistakes.  Big ones.  And you will pay for them. 

 

  • And to the adults involved in this mess, a lesson for you:  Stop using sports as a ‘bargaining chip’ for fixing your mistakes.  Sports are no longer ‘extracurricular,’ and haven’t been for decades.  Sports are very much part of the fabric of everyday life.  Or have you been deaf and dumb for the past 30 years?

 

  • Don’t answer that last question.  We already know the answer.

 

  • Solutions for Warwick?  It ain’t a quick fix.  But maybe start with allowing the city a chance to use operating expenses as a stop-gap way to keep things going, until the alleged grownups can figure out a way to undo years of damage from uncontrolled patronage.

 

  • Is it just me, or is the NBA ultra-silly when they hand draftees the hat of the original team that picks them, and then they get traded away before they even reach the stage?  Can’t they either: 1) wait to announce the trades at the end or 2) give them the proper @#$%&*+ hat?  Dumb.

 

  • Romeo Langford played with a thumb injury this past season at Indiana, one of the reasons he shot 27% from three.  Still like the pick, though.  Really like Carsen Edwards, too.  Shooter.  Scorer.  Playmaker.  Buh-bye Kyrie.  See ya’ Scary Terry.

 

  • Toronto is a perfect example of why we can’t have nice things anymore.  Win a championship, have a parade, gunfire breaks out.  Really?  Pretty soon, victory parades will be going the way of White House visits.

 

  • Hey, at least we don’t have to deal with that THIS time around.  Oh, Canada!

 

  • Can you blame Al Horford for his free agent turn this week?  I can’t.  The Celtics may now be in rebuild mode and he has perhaps one chance left to win it all in his career.  If the rules allow it, go do it.  Four-year deal > three-year deal.

 

  • Which loss one hurts the most? Kyrie or Al?  Serious question.  At this moment, I’d pick Al.  At least he tried to get along with the younger guys.

 

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @JoeGiza: “I feel bad for all the #Celtics fans who bought their kids Kyrie jerseys. @RochieWBZ please give us an update on what player jerseys are safest to buy for kids.”

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @RochieWBZ: “Patriots: Brady, Gronk, Edelman, Slater; Bruins: Bergeron, Chara; Red Sox: Bogaerts, Pedroia, Sale; Celtics: None.”

 

  • Speaking of hurt – Len Bias has been gone now for 33 years, passing away two days after he was drafted by the Celtics in 1986.  Puts a different perspective on hurt, doesn’t it?

 

  • I’m not surprised five Friars could be headed to Peru for the Pan Am Games this summer.  While that move might have raised some eyebrows around the Big East this week, Friar fans must know – those guys are likely Ed Cooley’s starting five next season. 

 

  • I mean, Ed didn’t just arrive in town on the back of a dump truck, know what I’m saying?  When you’re the head coach, it’s your call.  It’s precious, potential playing time for those guys – together – against elite competition.  Those are pros from other countries. 

 

  • The 15-member Big East Pan Am Games team is headlined by Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, PC’s Alpha Diallo and Villanova’s Colin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels (who is from Franklin, MA).  No Markus Howard though, as Marquette, Creighton, Georgetown and DePaul take summer foreign trips in August.

 

  • With massive local flavor to this USA team, workouts/tryouts begin July 21st at PC’s Ruane Development Center on campus through July 26th, with the competition beginning July 31. Providence’s David Duke, A.J. Reeves, Nate Watson and ex-UMass grad transfer Luwane Pipkins are also in the mix to make the final 12-man roster.

 

  • And as we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Brown’s Mike Martin joins Ed’s staff as an assistant coach, along with Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard.  Nothing like getting the experience of throwing on a jersey (or in this case, a golf shirt) with the “USA Basketball” logo on it.

 

  • Several reports have URI landing 6-7 juco wing Devale Johnson from Williston State College in North Dakota.  Averaged 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds last season and shot 43% from three.  Forty-three percent?  That’s about 40% better than anyone else shot last year, amiright?

 

  • Creighton has a big man to replace Martin Krampelj’s move to the pros, with Idaho State transfer Kelvin Jones.  He’s more of a traditional “five” at 6-11, and averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds per game a year ago.  Four schools in five years for this kid.

 

  • St. John’s picked up grad transfer Nick Rutherford from Monmouth – which means the Johnnies may now have a point guard in place for next season.  5.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists last season, he’s expected to bring an up-tempo game for Mike Anderson’s team.

 

  • USC grad transfer Derryck Thornton also says he’s coming to Boston College, to play for Jim Christian’s Eagles.  The one-time Duke guard plucked the Eagles, reportedly, over Gonzaga.  20 games last season in Troy, 7.7 points and 4.3 dimes.

 

  • Each of these transfers plays right away as “graduate” players, having completed their undergraduate degree studies.  Interesting story this week from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who believes college athletics would be better if ALL transfers had to sit out a year.

 

  • The point being – create consistency within all sports when it comes to transfers.  Which flies in the face of immediate accessibility issues, especially for undergrad student-athletes.  As long as the kid gets that year of eligibility back at the end, I’d be for that.  Puts value and meaning into the original decision-making process.

 

  • Remember, sometimes, we learn because we fail the first time around.  Apparently except in the City of Warwick, RI.  Rim shot!

 

  • A slight shuffle of the preseason deck in the Big East: 1) Seton Hall 2) Georgetown 3) Villanova 4) Marquette 5) Providence 6) Xavier 7) Creighton 8) Butler 9) St. John’s 10) DePaul.  1 through 7, and perhaps 8, all have legit NCAA possibilities.

 

  • After four seasons in Worcester, Bill Carmody has decided to retire as head basketball coach at Holy Cross.  Carmody had a 44-year career, with 342 wins and previous success at Northwestern and Princeton.  The Crusaders were 16-17 last season, reaching the NCAA’s in 2016 with their first tourney win since 1953.

 

  • Carmody is 67 and missed a few games last season to be with his wife as she underwent cancer treatments.  Holy Cross is the only men’s Division I job open in the country right now – but it is also pretty late in the process working toward next season.

 

  • The Worcester Telegram & Gazette says some Crusader alumni have pushed for Friar assistant coach Brian Blaney to get consideration for the top spot at HC.  Why not?  With his dad’s history and career at the school, a chip off that block could be a solid solution.

 

  • Anyone else think Rick Pitino is back in the college game in another year or two?  Sooner?  Pitino just finished coaching powerhouse Panathinaikos to another league championship in Greece, their 3rd straight. 

 

  • Very cool for Ivy football to hold its’ Media Day this year on August 15th at ESPN HQ in Bristol, CT.  Talk about maximizing your opportunities for exposure – the ESPN ‘car wash’ (appearances on multiple shows and platforms) can make anyone and anything larger than life.  The Ivy just signed a 10-year agreement with ESPN to showcase athletics on multiple platforms.

 

  • A reminder if you’re interested – former NFL DB, Boston College and Bishop Hendricken star Will Blackmon is holding his FREE football camp and high school combine July 6th and 7th in Warwick. rowleyqbs.com is where you can register.

 

  • Yes, that was former Dallas QB and current CBS analyst Tony Romo at Wannamoisett in Rumford, RI this week, playing in the Northeast Am.  No, he didn’t play particularly well…especially in Thursday’s 2nd round with a 10-over 79.  But hey, Wannamoisett’s greens will do that to any/all of us mere mortals.

 

  • I don’t know about you, but Brad Faxon knows how to take charge on TV.  Thought his coverage last week on the US Open telecasts for Fox was solid; aggressive and introspective at the same time.  But I have a hard time getting used to Joe Buck on golf.  Guess I’m a Jim Nantz guy.

 

  • OJ – yes, THAT OJ - is now on Twitter.  Just so happens his social media debut coincides with the 25th anniversary of his infamous ‘white Bronco’ chase on the Los Angeles highways.  Has he found his ex-wife and her friend’s murderer yet? 

 

  • Simpson basically went from beloved to reviled in the period of time it took for that Bronco to pull out and pull over.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he was on a cruise ship last week and tried to help an old lady standing at the rail. She was clutching what looked like a new hat to her head as the wind blew, and also revealing, um, herself to the passengers. “Ma’am, I don’t intend to be forward,” ‘Big E’ said, “but did you know your dress is blowing up in the wind?”

 

  • The old lady told him, “Yes I know. But I need both hands to hold onto my hat.  Anything you see down there, sir, is 85 years old and I just bought this hat yesterday.”

 

  • Quietest time of the calendar year for football.  Stinks, doesn’t it?  Training camp should kick-off on or about July 25th – counting down the days.

 

  • Ran with a new player poll on my twitter account this week, just to check temperatures.  N’Keal Harry already has a ton of expectation on his broad shoulders, and he’s barely an official Patriot.  But hey, it’s what we do around here.

 

  • Does Nick Caserio really want out?  In a word, no.  But does he want the opportunity to keep his name out there?  Of course, as we all would if we were in his shoes.  That’s what this whole deal was about this week, following the “it’s a story/it’s not a story” diatribe from the Globe’s Ben Volin.

 

  • So if Tampa Bay really does sublet its’ baseball team to Montreal for half a season, can we call them the Tampa Bay Ex-Rays?  Another rim shot!  Thank you, I’ll be here all week.  Try the veal.

 

  • I call BS on the DR.  If you’re believing the Dominican authorities’ “story” that David Ortiz wasn’t the intended target for an assassination attempt, I have swampland in Florida I’d like to pass off on you. 

 

  • This is nothing more than a country playing CYA with its’ one, true superstar, since the DR is slowly sinking into the quicksand when it comes to tourism.  Need to make nice-nice with our one, true asset.  Sorry ‘bout that Papi. 

 

  • Edwin Encarnacion’s move to the Yankees isn’t a surprise.  The fact New York added a bat to an injury-riddled lineup that has previously punished Boston pitching isn’t a surprise, either.

 

  • The surprise is the Red Sox didn’t offer him, or apparently even consider him.  Why?  You know the real reason why – mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but for the first time this season – and it’s taken us nearly half-a-year to get here – this Red Sox team feels a little bit like last year’s juggernaut.  And that’s only because the Sox managed to take two of three on the road at Minnesota, which has had baseball’s best record until this week. 

 

  • They beat someone good.  It’s a start.  But it’s only a start.  We got half-a-summah to go.

 

  • Steve from Warwick posted on Facebook this week, about the Friars: “Thx John from the crew in Section 240!”

 

  • Steve:  Knowing how rabid you guys are up there, what if Joe and I pull up stakes and bring a broadcast from the floor into your section next season?  Will you buy the beer? 

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

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