Sunday past was one to forget, and here I am writing about it. That morning the alarm squawked at 5:15. Kat works Sundays, and after I fixed her coffee, breakfast, and a lunch to go, she done went and there was nobody to share my blues. I was still hurting from LSU’s football loss on the first play of the game after the real game ended. The Tigers trailed Auburn, 18 – 13 with one second left on the clock 15 yards from the end zone. That play was a game-winning touchdown pass into the end zone. The officials signaled touchdown, and then stopped the already-over game to review the tape of the play. ESPN’s color guy was shouting “They can’t review whether the clock expired before the play began – the camera angle of the review keeps us from seeing the center snap the ball! But they overruled the play anyway, and I went to bed sure that LSU’s best football coach ever – in terms of wins, players in the NFL, and character building – would be fired at season’s end.
I scanned the internet only to learn that the best pitcher on any of my three fantasy baseball teams had been killed that morning in a cigarette boat accident. Jose Fernandez tried to escape Cuba four times, and at age 14 spent a year in adult jail after his third try. Cuban prisons may be as bad as those of Mexico; Jose said they are worse. He loved life and baseball as much as anyone ever I’ve heard of. Google has the pictures and videos to prove it. He was 24.
Then I noticed Buckwheat Zydeco in Yahoo’s Top Ten names in the news. Zydeco is the R&B version of Cajun music. It really rocks. But now, there’s no more Buckwheat. He was 68, but yo, in musician years that’s somewhere around 90.
Here he is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAWWICJNO8k
That afternoon I read that Arnold Palmer was dead at 87. I always hated golf, especially when I tried to play it, perhaps because of all the sports known to man it is the least responsive to athletic ability and physical fitness. Yet Arnie brought both to that effete sport, and until that fat golden-haired boy came along, Arnie dominated the PGA Tour. He later sold millions of televisions and many tanker loads of motor oil – remember his old tractor at Latrobe? I worked for Pennzoil for a few months. Arnie, his tractor, and my severance package were the high points of my tenure.
At last, The Kat came home from work. Good thing, too: moments later I read that LSU had fired Les Edwin Miles, its football coach of over eleven seasons after just four games in 2016. There have been 29 football coaches at The Old War Skule; Les had the best winning percentage of any of them. He has more players in the NFL than anybody else from any college, has won a National Championship and two SEC titles. He has no history of NCAA violations, recruits so well his fans expect too many wins, and is beloved by his players past and present. But the administration canned him mid-season, which is so much more humiliating than after the year is over. But he turned the other cheek, and has said nothing but wonderful things about LSU.
They wanted to fire Les last year, but chickened out after his fans filled the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate’s servers with angry e-mail, and then he coached the Tigers to a 19-7 win over Texas A&M. Yesterday an ESPN writer accused the administration (chancellor and athletic director) of suffering from penis envy. Les earned more money, got more media attention, and was widely adored while his bosses Alexander and Alleva are basically Anonymous Asses. But Les is gone and they remain. This world has never been particularly just.
I will remember Les for his on-field interview after last year’s A&M game when everyone thought he would be fired moments later. “What’s your future at LSU?” “I don’t know … I’d like to coach here another eleven years, I love it so, but, I guess we’ll see.” The interviewer asked something else but Les replied “Excuse me. Right now I gotta sing the alma mater with my team.” Les can’t sing a lick, but he knows the words. I knew we’d miss Coach Miles. And now we do.
Here’s Les. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbQLrxfHbsk
Here’s what it sounds like sung by instrumental musicians. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNuHZzOIOW4
Les feels it more than The Golden Band From Tigerland.