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I happened down to the Westin Hotel early today in preparation for my meeting with our travel industry's Regional Tourism Network in conjunction with the Cincinnati Reds opening day; and If you're not from here Google it and save me the pleasure of your jealousy. It is a tradition way beyond out-of-towners comprehension. But I was made aware of another event involving military personnel who were at a breakfast where Ken Griffey Sr. and Hall of Famer, and all around good guy Anthony Munoz were speaking and in attendance as well.

And so were Mick Cronin and Butch Jones from the University of Cincinnati. I was aware but not intimidated by their security guard and assistant athletic director Mike Waddell as well but it had me thinking how cool it was to see both these coaches in support of our troops first thing in the morning. I'm sure some may not be impressed and you shouldn't be but what you should be is proud Cincinnati alumni because neither had an obligation to be there and who could blame them for being at work with their respective challenges, one replacing his mentor and icon while the other works to continue moving his program back to the Bearcats desired NCAA tournament position.

I often think coaches and athletes are in a unique situation. These coaches went because it was the right thing to do and to offer support of those who probably followed UC while at war. They say sports help take your mind off things when you're thousands of miles from campus and UC has lots to embrace no matter how you look at it. But the uniqueness is that if they promote they're going to be somewhere, people think you are grandstanding; if you don't people don't know, and say you don't care because they aren't aware. Which road would you choose? I think both coaches chose the latter and let the naysayer's make fools of themselves spewing conjecture without facts. College's coaches of today face more pressure than ever before courtesy of money minded alums who like to dangle (pledge) dollars in the face of decision makers. And believe you me they are all eyes and ears "evaluating" how well a coach does their job based on their personal assessment and, if they see them at multiple events and their record isn't superlative, then maybe they aren't doing their job. I am adding some conjecture but I have some facts in my pocket that support my claim, and as my former pastor would say "I know that doesn't apply to anyone here."

Let's simply give props to coaches and players alike who fly under the radar to give and do in the community as part of their commitment to Cincinnati. Whether or not they promote it or you see them is irrelevant; Its about being part of something bigger than yourself and bigger than your team. Spending time today with troops, many who have lost limbs, is as big as it gets. Thanks to all the coaches and players who did just that this morning and any other time they stopped working to get out in our community. As I say "Those that know, know; those that don't know don't need to."

That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat...

 

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