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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Seven Things I Hate About Cougar High

It seems fitting that I would have missed out on last night's 76-71 come-from-behind win for Rice, one of the great games in the Rice-UH rivalry. I couldn't find it on the telly at the gym, and then enjoyed trekking out to the grocery store located in the blighted areas that were just devastated by the supposed "ice storm" that the local media had been trumpeting for the better part of a week now. I managed to catch Rice's comeback on the radio, though.

From the Chronicle's various reports, though, it sounds like I missed the best parts of the game, including (1) the Coog players preening for their fans and taunting Morris Almond; (2) two of the Coog thugs trying to pick fights with the Rice players; (3) the ever-classless Tom Penders sprinting off the court after the game to yell obscenities at the referees; (4) TP's assistant coach throwing a trash can against the wall; (5) TP's and his assistant's having to be restrained; and (6) the Coogs--taking an example in poor sportsmanship from their coach--refusing to shake the Owls's hands after the game.

Which reminds me: if I was going to make fun of coaches' haircuts, how could I have given TP a free pass?

Now that's a handsome mug!

Anyways... to celebrate the occasion, I thought I'd compile a list of a few of the things about Cougar High that just annoy me. In no particular order, they include:

  1. Tom Penders. While we're on the topic, this guy chaps me off. He's a chump, he recruits punks, his teams play undisciplined ball, and he blames the refs when his teams choke:

    Oh, and he's given too much credit for the fact that he can never seem to win the games that really count. And I'll not comment on the circumstances under which his tenure at Texas ended.

  2. Old Alums. You can pick 'em out by their hideous red blazers (which, naturally, I couldn't find a great picture of):

    They may look like sweet old people,
    but I hate them nonetheless.

    Either from senility or some other unspoken reason, they think that it's still 1983-84 Phi Slamma Jamma era, and they have nothing but utter contempt for your school.

  3. John Jenkins. Even TP's antics pale in comparison to the King of Acting Classless, John Jenkins. His "run and shoot" teams of the early '90s heroically vanquished such mighty opponents as Louisiana Tech (73-3), Eastern Washington (84-21), and SMU (95-0). The Eastern Washington game is deserving of a few more details:

    With soon-to-be-NFL-bust QB David Klingler, Jenkins’s teams went wild, each touchdown pass in the Astrodome marked by an air-raid siren that was supposed to enliven the game-day experience for those fans who showed up.

    UH scheduled Division 1-AA opponent Eastern Washington in 1990, and Jenkins kept Klingler in as he threw 11, yes, 11 TD passes. And even on the 11th, as the 4,000 or so fans remaining in the yawningly empty and quiet Dome embarrassedly clapped their hands, that goddamn siren went off, its silly, supposedly intimidating blast echoing forlornly off the walls.

    Klingler played three and a half quarters – you never know when EWU might come back! – and killed any chance he had of winning the Heisman because voters assumed his stats were tainted. Klingler later tried to salvage his chances by saying at the end of the year:

    “If we’d been trying to run up the score on Eastern Washington, it would have been 160-21.”

    The vote-getting strategy failed.
    Not to mention the various NCAA violations he managed to commit, dooming his team to suffer sanctions and miss the post-season at least once.

  4. Big 12 Envy. Get over the bitterness from your omission from the Big 12 when the SWC broke up. They didn't want you then, and they don't want you now.

  5. Cougar High. Notwithstanding Robertson Field (which, by the way, I very much enjoyed during the Dynamos' games last year), Cougar High is a commuter school that--I hate to say it--just looks like a high school. It's not the academics; I know (and work with) some very smart folks who went to UH, and their law school's terrific in many areas. But the school just looks like a big high school, particularly on the inside of the buildings. When we (well, I can speak only for myself) refer to UH as "Cougar High," it's primarily because it's a stupid-looking commuter school.

  6. Rice Baseball Envy. Every year, I have to hear about how "this is the year that UH is going to beat Rice at baseball." Before last year, it was about the Silver Slugger series--they may as well bolt the trophy down at Rice, because it's stayed there forever--and the regionals or super-regionals. Rice won every time. Now it's about the C-USA conference. We won it in our first year last year, and guess what? We're going to win it again this year.

    You have a nice little baseball program (run by a guy who was one of Wayne Graham's former assistants, although I'd disagree with UH's claim that Noble "helped rebuild" Rice's program). But quit talking smack about beating Rice until you... well, you know... actually do it.

  7. Cowbell/Air Siren/Whatever. With Jenkins's teams, it was an air siren that they played after every score. Before him, it was a cowbell or some crap where they'd ring it out for every point they'd scored, after every score. So if they scored to make it 7-0, they'd count to seven. At 21, they'd count to twenty-one (even though they'd already counted up to whatever their previous score was.) I remember attending a Rice-UH football game in the Astrodome in the last 80's--one that the Owls actually won, which was a bit of an upset--and having to sit among red-clad idiots all game long. After UH scored to get up to like thirteen or something, my father quipped, "Well, at least it shows they know how to count." That prompted one of those red-blazered chumps in front of us to turn around, glare at him, and talk some smack about UH's then-lead over Rice. Sure enough, after Rice took the lead and won, Red Blazer stormed out of the Dome without saying a word.
There are a few positive qualities about UH that I feel compelled to mention:

  • I like Art Briles, and I love seeing him rejuvenate UH football. He's a class act.

  • And, as I said earlier, I like--and envy--Robertson Stadium.

  • And I like most of UH's alumni, just not the old guys with the red blazers.

  • And the breadth of their curriculum offerings.

  • And the quality of their law school.
But just about everything else about them sucks.