Pugh’s Views: Can You Feel The Love?

So it’s another Valentine’s Day and another laundry list of suckers are out there buying stuff for their significant others at the last minute. You see I call y’all suckers because in essence you SHOULD be buying “stuff” like this for your old lady ALL YEAR. The nerve of someone telling me I gotta buy the same stuff that I normally buy at communistic price points just so I can justify “wrestling” for the remote with my wife when the lights are off.

If you think that this is somehow about romanticism getting its due credit, you have issues. Oh yeah, and don’t tell me there’s a recession in certain segments of this economy. Estimated wait times at the following restaurants last night at 7:30pm: Seasons 52: 1hr 40min, PF Chang’s: 2hrs, Mitchell’s Fish Market: 1hr 15min. Maggiano’s? Child Please. The Valet’s weren’t even accepting cars for the restaurant unless you had a reservation. I bet I go tonight at the same time and do just fine. Except I’m cooking for my lady. Which is what I always do. Just saying. Isn’t love grand?

Attended the 50Th installment of the Sports Club of Tampa Bay Awards Banquet on Friday Night and thought it was rather nice affair.  Had the chance to sit with Anthony Chickillo and his Parents, James Wilder Jr., Coach Corey Moore of Lakewood, and of course our fearless leader Mr. Preston Jackson. Not a bad crew to have some dinner and conversation with.  Surreal to hear Mr.’s Wilder and Chickillo discuss their upcoming battle this October.  They are not talking about the EPIC battle between Plant and Alonso though. This one’s about their renewed rivalry that dates all the way back to their ‘Capture the Flag’ games from Elementary School.

James was the ONLY one that Anthony could never catch according to his parents and Anthony himself. I must confess as a lifelong Noles Fan I hope this trend continues, but as a human being, Anthony will be the first Hurricane I have EVER openly rooted for while wearing that hideous color combination that they stole from FAMU. (Just kidding, I’m not THAT bitter towards the U, just the ones that couldn’t find Coral Gables on their own city map, but as soon as they start winning again it’s like they hold an undergrad, Master’s AND PHD from there.)

While I’m thinking about two of the most-prized recruits to come from this area in decades, I want to finish some thoughts I jotted down during the absolute madness that was National Signing Day nearly two weeks ago. First, I cannot believe the rockstar status that some of these young men THINK they have attained.  It’s madness.  I know what you’re probably saying to yourselves right now. “But Pugh, you’re a part of it. You’re the one that traveled 60+ miles to 5 different events and were plastering your thoughts all over the place. Nice job hypocrite.” Fair enough. Let me leave you with this, just because you love what you do, doesn’t mean that you can’t love to hate some aspects of it.

Kids were switching hats like some sort of Harlem Globetrotters skit on the podium, mothers forging signatures, mothers openly weeping and refusing to hug their sons with sincerity because Johnny didn’t choose the school that THEY wanted. I saw kids on TV signing autographs for crying out loud.  I believe this is the part where I’m supposed to say, “HOLD ON PLAYA!”  Here’s what you should do fellas; borrow the James Wilder Jr. philosophy. Imagine yourselves feeling that you and them five stars can get knocked off along with your jockstrap in the first play of your college career. Earn the right to sign your name to a professional contract. Not memorabilia. Freshmen have enough trouble. Don’t get caught up in the hype.

As the Spring Season approaches, with it comes the backyard two-hand touch league aka 7v7 and the countless combines. Good time to start looking ahead to September.  It’s a long time until Labor Day Weekend when they start knocking heads for real, but the time will travel fast.  Next year’s crop of kids is just as loaded.  Slightly top-heavy, but loaded nonetheless.  Before it’s all said and done, the 2012 Class may rival 2011. Something that if it holds true we’ve got an even bigger circus headed to town.  I’m just excited to see how these new districts pan out, much less all of the other stuff just mentioned.  Is it Fall yet?