Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life In The Fast Lane Kiffin


Medicine - We Were Promised Jetpacks (mp3)

People everywhere were happy today, but nowhere on earth were people happier about Southern Cal's firing of Lane Kiffin than the collective state of Tennessee.

The people of Tennessee were hardly this happy when Osama Bin Laden got killed.

In a time when you can't go to the bathroom without creating a political divide between neighbors, distaste for Lane Kiffin is nigh-universal. Every single Tennessee citizen. Every man, woman and child. All were a little happier than usual today. Ding Dong the Son of a Witch is Dead.

I don't know the man, and I hardly care for the University of Tennessee or its Volunteers, but I was as giddy as the next chap when news of his firing crossed my Twitter feed this morning. When I arrived at church, old men with canes were clicking their heels like they'd just auditioned for Riverdance. I snuck into a quiet back room just to read articles celebrating his termination and  just giggled my little fanny off.

Why is it that everyone from all walks of life loathe this man? Rich or poor, black white or other, UT fan, SEC fan, even Premier League soccer fans. And just trust me, this sentiment goes to 11 inside the borders of the Volunteer State. And why? Kiffin did nothing substantial as the Vols' head coach other than cheat. So the fact that he "betrayed" them "in the middle of the night" by running to the higher-paying home base of USC should, in hindsight, have been considered Good Frappin' Riddance, and far sooner than they might otherwise have done.

Yet, it's there. UT fans hate Kiffin more than they hate Charles Woodson and the ESPN reporters who plotted to, and succeeded in, robbing Peyton Manning of his rightful Heisman Trophy.

The easy gut answer is that Kiffin is a bad person. That's what we seem to want to believe. He uses people like Paula Deen uses aluminum foil. He eats babies for breakfast. He sacrifices virgin cheerleaders to Azrael, not the cat from Smurfs or the Chris Kataan character, but the demon who gives him magical powers to mesmerize GMs and ADs across the continent.

In truth, we know hardly a thing about him. The only descriptions you ever hear someone say about Lane Kiffin are these, and usually in this order: (1) smug ba$tard, (2) hot wife, (3) riding daddy's coattails. You'd have to be blind or deaf not to get a sense of his ego and his lack of interest in putting others before himself, but in the end, he's just a frappin' football coach, and a highly overrated one at that. He hasn't killed anyone (that we know of), nor does he have a criminal record with the possible exception of a DUI and wreck from his UT days that hardly makes him unique among D1 coaches. Hell, it's practically a rite of passage.

I think the real reason we despise Lane Kiffin is because he's the Silver Spoon story even silver spoon kids hate to see. He's the kid who was born on third base thinking he hit that proverbial triple, who sincerely thought himself a football genius simply because he sat at the dinner table with his father, who probably impressed enough of his frat-jock buddies to win an election and thought he could be POTUS one day. And there’s all these people who rewarded him for believing too highly of himself and being too highly connected.

Lane Kiffin is, simply, the ultimate example of the spoils of being spoiled, the undeserved privileges of being overly privileged. "Deserve" never had anything to do with Lane Kiffin. Ever.

Yet he's already made more money than the average American will see in a lifetime. Worse, despite being almost universally despised and disrespected for both his personality and his coaching abilities, he'll likely find another job in the coming weeks or months that still pays far more than 90% of Americans will earn in a single year.

Six months or a year from now, some reporter will do a moving feature on him, how he is "turning his life around," how he's "rededicated himself to his family and God," how he "got lost in chasing all that glory and forgot who he really was at his core: a devoted husband, a humble man, a student of the game."

The rest of the continent might buy this story when it comes out. The rest of the USA might shed a tear and want to give the poor guy another shot. But rest assured, if you listen closely enough, you'll hear the entire state of Tennessee emit a mocking chuckle of disbelief.

"Have him," Tennessee citizens will say, "But don't come cryin' to us later. We tried to tell ya, but y'all wouldn't listen to a bunch of bumpkins."

"But if you see Layla, tell her she's welcome to visit anytime."

1 comment:

Bob said...

Hear, hear. Here, here.