Watching Jeff DaVanon

Watching Jeff DaVanon

A weblog devoted to #55 of the Anaheim Angels, Jeff DaVanon. How is he doing? Is he getting his due respect yet? Let's watch and see...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The post that ends up being about Cade McNown

Old news from the On the DL girls (love you!)

Some might ask how I could stoop so low as to care about such things.

I spent an awful few months working the front desk for a hotel outside Chicago. It was not a four-star place. It was bar mitzvahs and insurance training seminars all the way. But for some reason, it was also the pre-season-but-non-training-camp home of the bears. Yes, DA Bears.

And the Bears were so happy with us (although I can't imagine why since hardly anyone else who passed through our doors was) that when the Bulls needed a place to put their prospects, the Bears suggested us, so we had them as well. I suspect we were charging them $10 a room and also throwing in free hookers. I don't know. I've never seen so much in-room adult movie charges-- and that includes the time we were the overflow housing for the Naval Training Center.

There is nothing like being treated like crap by a first-round draft pick to make you develop a healthy dislike for athletes. My personal favorite was the rookie who first asked for the good strip clubs [a male co-worker helped him with this, I think he settled on the Admiral] and then the next day begged me to send a fax to his momma asking that she send him more money because he'd spent what he had on all the "expensive Chicago food." Who faxes their momma?

But I always felt bad on cut day, when I'd get the list of cuts before the players, and would go about rooming together those that remained and closing out the bills of those whose dreams were about to be crushed in a tiny, poorly-ventilated meeting room that we usually rented out to pyramid schemes. People deserve better than that, better than that room when they've made it so close to their dream.

Oh.. and I felt a real sense of vindication later on (like a year later)when it became clear that my not-so-favorite first-round pick/prick didn't confine his attitude to hotel personnel and was run out of town and out of the team for being a prick to everyone (and also for sucking, but mostly for being a prick). We could make up "Cade McNown treated me like crap" t-shirts and pass them out to a huge number of people, including most of his former teammates.

Anyway I learned really scary things that summer about how incredibly coddled athletes are in all aspects of their development. The experience reinforced what I had learned working at the restaurant named after our NU football coach where we were often carrying players and former players on the payroll who either never showed up, or couldn't be trusted to actually wait on [or even bus] tables, or had apparantly been told that their job was to sit at the bar and eat wings on the house for 5 hours. The baby Bears came into the NFL with little common sense, no education, and absolutely no idea of how to function in the real world. People had been telling them what to do and also doing things for them for so long that they couldn't make good decisions. They had to sit through seminars on women who were after their money, but they never thought it would happen to them.

And soooo many of them were cut. They were excited about being drafted-- the culmination of a lifelong dream-- but hardly a handful survived past camp and pre-season. Draft day is such an event, all the coverage, the excitement... but it's only the beginning. Some of them had this never-say-die attitude "This didn't work out, but I'm going to be on the practice squad, and I know my talent, and this is going to happen for me eventually." And I'd be like "Well I hope so, but don't you need to give up the dream at some point?" And he said "Hell no, besides, I don't know how to do anything else." And I thought "yeah, I sort of noticed that." There was only one rookie who I would have felt comfortable entrusting with any responsibility or even letting out the hotel without a babysitter, and he was from the Air Force Academy. A place where I'd like to think people expect something of you even if you are an athlete.

That summer was also where I developed my love of the second-string players. They were nice, they were kind, they engaged in small talk with me about Buffy and remembered my name [ something which should not have been difficult since I had a nametag]. They were not Cade McNown. They never made the girl who worked the phones cry. They never made anyone cry. They didn't insist on having their own room when it was in violation of team policy. They didn't buy their way out of trouble.

Anyway, everyone treats these guys like children, like entitled children, and then gets surprised when they behave like children. We give them money, some small measure of fame, take them from their families, and then give them a new "family" that is tied to job performance and group indoctrination. And then they aren't supposed to end up slightly warped. The DL girls call them on their stupid, crazy, childish behavior. And maybe in doing so remind the guys that they do actually live in the world with the rest of us, and maybe they should act like it.

I think he settled on the Admiral

Feh. You can't drink there. And the dive bar next door totally waters down their drinks. I had like 4 shots of tequila there in about a five minute span once and didn't even get a buzz.
Why does everyone have to trash Cade McNown? He is a very nice man.
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