BobLee Says

Ric Flair - Ray Lewis - Ol' Roy & Santa Claus

Jan 24, ’13:  In the late 70s one of my favorite past times was watching Pro Wrestling..... Dusty Rhodes “The American Deam” – a young Ric Flair – The Von Erichs – etc.  Meanwhile my mom loved “her soaps”.  Now I devour crime/action fiction audio books..... and being entertained by TV sports.  What’s the connection here ?? .....

Did I know that Pro Wrestling was choreographed with pre-determined outcomes?  Duh.... yeah.   I figured that out back in the early 60s when I first began watching it with Argentina Rocca and Gorgeous George et al.   About the same time I figured out that Santa Claus was “a delightful state-of-mind” that also entertained me with no apparent damage to my psyche.

The fake blood and distracted referees and conniving “managers” and contrived feuds were all “part of the show” and I loved it.  Was it always choreographed to bring you back next time or get you to come out to the local armory for “a live show” – sure.... and it did just that.

Did my mom realize that her “soaps” were exaggerated social-drama involving air-brushed beautiful people forever entangled in over-the-top ethical dilemmas?  She and I never actually had that conversation.... nor the one about Santa Claus.   She cheered on the dashing heroes and ingĂ©nues while gnashing her teeth as the Snidley Whiplash villains double-crossed and dirty-dealed the good citizens of mythical Springfield or Salem or Pine Valley.   Bless her hearts she knew that every Friday’s episode would end in a cliff-hanger.   For the record, my mom never questioned the authenticity of the moon landing.

My audiobooks all have pre-determined outcomes.  I could simply jump ahead to the final 10 minutes if “who done it” was all I wanted to know.   After becoming familiar with an author I can anticipate the plot twists that his characters will be subjected to at various points in the narrative.  The more I get to know characters in a series, the more I look forward to their next adventure be it Dirk Pitt, Joe Pickett, Jack Reacher, Dave Robicheau, Lucas Davenport, Elvis Cole, or John Corey.  Occasionally the better authors will throw a curve ball and have a sidekick killed off or bring in a super villain that almost gets the best of the hero...... aka “this may be his greatest challenge EVER....”.

Every Bond movie is predictable..... every Bond is a suave rogue – the beautiful women – exotic locales – car chases – hollowed-out volcano HQ for the super-villain – 007 is captured – 007 escapes – 007 prevails ..... HOORAY!  I've seen him do it again/again over 40 years.

OK.... so what my point?   Who say every column has to have “a point”?  It so happens this one does.

If audiences can totally enjoy all the above with their pre-determined outcomes.....

Why does the authenticity of any sports event matter?

OK, lets deal with the “sports betting” issue first.   Other than a couple of March Madness bracket pools a few years ago, I have never “bet” on a sports event... or ever bought a lottery ticket.  No, it’s not a religious or moral “thing” with me.  I have played the slots in Vegas.  Sports betting is just something I’m not “in to”.   Like some of you are about audiobooks, Brunswick stew or watching Justified or Suits or Nashville.  ...... so, eliminate, for this discussion, “because there is lots of money bet on the outcome” as a reason that sports events need to be legitimate.

If sports event (college or pro) were choreographed like pro wrestling, soap operas, fiction novels, movies or Santa Claus..... without the betting issue..... I would still enjoy them since I enjoy these other “pre-determined” entertainment options.

Wait a minute BobLee. Isn’t that already the case?  There is a species of sports fan – known around these parts as “State fans” - who have been convinced for years that every time their team is defeated it was pre-determined by the eeeeevil John Swofford.   Johnny Swofford - Vince McMahon - Jim Crockett ..... all the same.

Is Jim Knight, Karl Hess, Ted Valentine et al any different from the wresting ref that is “distracted” and doesn’t see that no-count Homer O’Dell hit Johnny Weaver with his cane.... or doesn’t see Gorgeous George pull Lou Thesz’ trunks..... “COME ON REF, HOW CAN YOU MISS THAT?..... YOU BUM!”  

I think I read those very words after this week’s State v Wake game in fact.   FWIW.... I doubt any Duke fan "blamed the refs" for last night's butt-whuppin' in Miami.

Why isn’t Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) in prison for all the skullduggery she has pulled on her 6-7 unsuspecting husbands..... or UNC in “Death Penalty” for all its felonious behavior?

So Lance Armstrong was “on the juice” or Mark McGwire and Sammie Sosa were ‘roided up.   How did that distract from the excitement of the moment of the event.

But BobLee, it wasn’t authentic?   “Authentic” ???  Why do I care about “authentic”.  Blondie is always noting that such-such actress “has had work done”.  So.... why does that matter?  Really.

The recent Broncos v Ravens game was a humdinger because of that last minute long bomb pass by the Ravens.   If that was pre-arranged..... so?   If the pitch Dave Frieze hit in Game Six of the 2011 World Series was “grooved” and he knew it was coming..... so?   Was there no way TA McLendon was going to score from the one that night in Kenan?  Would anyone remember the game if he had?

I maintain that if the sole purpose is to entertain viewers / spectators then choreographing exciting final outcomes is quite OK.   James Bond needs to defy death in the final ten minutes before triumphing.

Now... if the sole purpose is to provide some weird vicarious sense of reflected glory to those spectators unaccustomed to "winning" in real life that's a whole ‘nother matter.  I’m not in to that.

What about "young people" learning the valuable lessons of athletic competition?  Yawn.  Thats why God invented intra-murals.

For me “it’s all a show” regardless of “scoreboard”.   If that buzzer-beater doesn’t beat the buzzer or that Ravens’ pass is incomplete.... it’s not as memorable an experience for my time and/or money.   For the record.... I would feel this way even if Bob Kennell was ACC Commissioner instead of Swofford. ..... let THAT thought sink in for a few moments !!!!

I betcha a lot of you are appalled at this suggestion.  It strikes at your holiest of holies – the supposed all-mighty sanctity of sport.  "All mighty sanctity" ??? where you are already convinced "every school cheats".... but the one you pull for.  Right?
(Huuumm.... maybe AgentPierce should do his version of this concept.  Does the sanctity of election results really matter? Are elections just high drama "entertainment" too?).  BTW.... AP has a coupla lulus just up on the Home Page.

BobLeeLIVE is coming to Wilmington on Fri - Feb 1
Greater Wilmington Sports Club !!!
For tickets & Details contact:
The number is 910.620.3906 - and online at

Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM by SaidWHATMedia | with 15 comments

All Comments To Be Approved By Moderator

58 Wolf Kennel
Not so fast BL. Some of your supporters seem to be more worried about betting lines than athletic outcomes. I don't ever view a good sporting contest as anything other than competition, and I can still vicariously make a steal or slam dunk. If you try to obviate gamblers' betting lines, they can always go to betting on elections as well as someone trying to United Citizens influence them :>((

BL: Not sure I understand either of your points, but you are always welcome to express them here.
1/26/2013 8:10:14 AM

Interesting concept--choreographed sporting events with pre-determined outcomes.

In a time when I find it more and more difficult to have any interest in all sports events for a variety of reasons--from full (visible) body tattoos to doping to thugaletes to bountygate and everything in between-- your proposal doesn't bother me a whit. In fact, since it would have the added benefit of putting the gamblers out of a large part of their business, I think I have to endorse it. Especially since most gambling, even "legalized" gambling, still ends up supporting organized crime.
And by "organized crime," I don't mean the various governmental entities that run lotteries and the like. Their activities, like most governmental activities, can only be described, charitably, as "disorganized." The LA lottery, for example, was supposed to use all its proceeds to fund the state's educational system when it was "sold" to the voting public. At last count, I believe about 10% of the money goes to education.
So, BL, once again you should take a bow for a brilliant idea.

BL: EXCELLENT! - We already outnumber BK's objections, so The Plan is now inevitable. :-)
1/25/2013 2:13:37 PM


While we agree about a LOT of things, I beg to differ on NASCAR drivers. You ought to google some of the articles and also the book written by a physicist (don't know her alma mater). I did the Be-Petty ride as well as drive this past summer at CMS. You feel about 1.5 G's in CMS. My top speed on the ride was around 170 and on the drive about 140. During the 8 laps, the adreniline wears off after 4 laps and you are focusing on your pilot car. You have to stay 3 lengths back.
I have pulled a couple of G's on some of the more exotic rides at Six Flags and the other parks and will not shy away from an upside-down ride or one with sharp turns (just don't spin me round).
I can NOT imagine the reflexes needed in a race like the VeloDrome in Bristol. The drivers there are subjected to at least 3, upwards to 4 or 5 G's during that race. That goes on for HOURS. Sure, they get a break when they pit...12 seconds....then they must be mentally capable of doing what they do.
If you look at the speeds and do the phyiscs (88 FPM @ 60 MPH, they keep distances of 5 ft (usually smaller). That equates to 0.02 second. Try clicking a stop watch and registering 0.02 seconds. Their physical strength, endurance and mental fatique overwhelms me. Except for the idiotic X sports (like flipping a snow mobile) are the only thing that come close....and the only sport where a few hundredths of a second can spell disaster or possibly death.
Watch the football players (NCSU and DUKE) that did the Be-Petty ride at the Belk Bowl. They are blown away.
So, I would put the NASCAR guys (generally speaking....Tony Stewar could shed a few pounds). Most of them have a very rigorous work out routine and spend 3 - 4 times more time in the gymn during a typical week of the circuit than they do behind the wheel. You DO know that many of them are tri-athelon (sp?) athletes, don't you?

GO pack....focus on the light blue clad lads tomorrow...

BL: Carl Edwards being among the Top Five in any fitness categories.
1/25/2013 1:22:21 PM

58 Wolf Kennel
Amazing athletes and performers, but not athletic competition. Also a little different from Mr. Moto.

BL: Different from Mr Moto for sure AND Haystacks Calhoun. The "Lucha Libre" Mexican wrestlers rely on high-flying gymnastic moves.... and then there's the whole issue of Wrestling Divas vs NFL Cheerleaders ???? Essentially selling the same product to the same demographic.
1/25/2013 11:52:12 AM

58 Wolf Kennel
Interesting questions, BL. I like Scotty's singing and personality much more than the American Idol medium that got him known. I definitely consider PGA golfers as athletes. Much less so NASCAR drivers or racing jockeys. In athletics I value and enjoy "mano a mano" interactions much more so than man-machine or man-animal competitions even though I know it takes great skill to compete in racing. In growing up I didn't have great personal skills so avoided sports like wrestling, tennis, golf, track, or swimming. I needed team sports like baseball, basketball, or football where good eye-hand coordination and intelligence could be woven into the team sport. Also liked the team relationships of depending on one another, and as proven out, especially for the longer terms in life. Guess I'm just an old school "jock" at heart.

BL: What about Cirque Soleil performers?
1/25/2013 11:30:08 AM

58 Wolf Kennel
So far, ESPN offers us "entertainment" in watching supposedly "clean" sports. Don't thing Brundage or Walt Byers would object. If ESPN doesn't give me that, won't be watching any more. Can't stand the "Survivor or Great Race" type TV, because I know it's not real. I want the type of game on ESPN tomorrow with State-Carolina. I don't think anyone will be "laying down".
Go Pack !

BL: But you DO like Scotty winning American Idol, right? Is that a competition you advocate?

I've never asked you - do you consider PGA golfers and NASCAR drivers to be "athletes"?
1/25/2013 10:54:40 AM

58 Wolf Kennel
Holy Mackerel, BL. I was getting ready to savage this article even before you brought my non-double "l" name into it.
To your original point, any athlete worth his salt would regurgitate on any suggestion that outcomes were pre-arranged or that he or she participated in it.
Second I could never stand so-called pro-wrestling because of it's pseudo-competitive nature. And that goes for WWWF exec/ Conn. Senate candidate Linda McMahon who was maid of honor in my sister's wedding.
Finally, I wouldn't ever want the ACC Commish's job. I could quickly get the ref controversy out of the way by not hiring ego-driven ref's -- but could not stomach the conference reallignment/NCAA controversies the ACC has been experiencing.
However, going back to your original article's premise. as an old athlete and no prude, no real athlete would ever shave points, throw a game, or (a la Armstrong) cheat to win. That's my conservative nature even though it doesn't stretch to politics :>))

BL: On behalf of Avery Brundage and the ancient Greeks, your defense of "pure sport" is applauded. Wonder what Ol' Avery would think of ESPN? .... or what Walter Byers would think?

Again, I see "sport" as pure entertainment. That it carries any national or institutional "honor" or pride with it is waaay too "Hitler vs Jesse Owens" silly to me.

I once met Brute Bernard & Skull Murphy. You woulda liked Skull I think.
1/25/2013 10:09:05 AM

Oh my! You mean it's possible Ivan Putski wasn't Polish?

BL: And The Iron Sheik was a guy named Leroy from Burgaw.
1/25/2013 8:49:55 AM

BL, not to quibble ... okay, to quibble ... you might ask "Chip" to review the replay of Dudley Bradley's half court "mugging". That even a blind man can see it was a clean steal is a testament to the myopia of State fans (from which my daughter is soon to be an alumnus). Here's a link to the video replay:

Unless, of course, Commissioner Swofford has altered the tape ....

BL: Yee Haaa an official quibble over a 40 year old play !! When do we get to "did V make up the amphibious line?"

Commish Swofford has the power to DO ANYTHING. He is OMNIPOTENT!
1/24/2013 8:44:03 PM

Why single out State fans? I guess our paranoia goes back to the Dudley Bradley mugging/steal at mid-court in the 70's. Over on IC I've seen many comments from UNC fans that the refs are out to get UNC. I realize those are sub species but the State fans you cite belong to the same sub-species. No need to lump all State fans in that group. Even Coach K once said something to the effect that there were two sets of rules: one set for Dean and one set for everyone else.
Funny thing. I used to think Larry Rose was one of those refs who had something against State. Over the last several years I've gotten to know Larry and consider him a friend and a mighty fine fellow.
Bob Kennel seems like a decent guy too. I just couldn't agree with his defense of Lee Fowler who aspired to mediocrity.

BL: You are correct on all your points. BK is a fine fellow.... and EVERY fan base has its paranoid bottom-feeder element.

Yes, State paranoia did officially begin with Dudley stealing the ball from The Glide. There is a plague in the floor of Reynolds commemorating that event.

Now explain WHY you would visit InsideCarolna. That is the equivalent of scooping up roadkill on the highway.
1/24/2013 6:52:24 PM

Who is Bob Kennell?
I'm not as looped in a most of your readers.
I do know Caulton Tudor.Does that count?

BL: OH BOY! The mind reels on how to answer this one. I'll let TheRealBobKennel and/or Old McDonald give it a try.

BK is a VERY passionate State fan who also invented the wheel, fire, and poptarts, and has advised every Democratic president and NC State coach and AD since Andrew Jackson, Roy Clogston and Vic Sorrell.

.... I proudly claim BK as a good friend. (I like really eccentric people and really spicy food)

Having Toots as ACC Commish might be more popular with some State fans than BK in that slot. :-)
1/24/2013 5:22:26 PM

I will have to re-read this one at a later date. The concept of Bob Kennel as ACC commissioner just wiped out everything previous to it in my mind.
Am reading Joe Pickett books two at a time. One on my Kindle and one on CD's in the car. Do you do

BL: Yes. - GREAT company to deal with 99.9999% glitch-free. "Nate The Outlaw Falconer" KICKS BUTT! It helps to read Joe's books in sequence.
1/24/2013 5:17:59 PM

If outcomes WERE pre-arranged, would "State fans" still get to be terminally paranoid - "everybody is against us!" ?

BL: Absolutely, "State fans" paranoia is even more fun than a Texas Cage Match where the loser is painted pink.
1/24/2013 5:15:16 PM

AO in Gsbo
I know The Great Bolo was legit. Hillary reminds me of my wife. Don't like the question, start screaming.

BL: I know your wife. Any comparison of her to The HillyBeast is sacrilege.

Bronko Lubich Lives !!!
1/24/2013 5:09:18 PM

It is interesting that you named three Ref's that you, assume, thought that everyone would know. I would add Brian Dorsey to that list, but only in lower case. HOWEVER, when a referee's face and name are known and fans have a pre-conceived notion that there may not be objectivity in the officiating, I say we got trouble in River City. Trouble with a capital T which rhymes with P which stands for PHOOEY. You could subsitute about any consonant or vowel that rhymes with "T" and Fill In the Blank.

In other words, if a Ref's re*****tion for inconsistency or for being the "center" of attention preceeds him, that it is time he head for another conference and fade into the shadows for a few years and do penance.

I too, had relatives that fully believed that the Great Bolo was the most evil person known to mankind since Adolph Hitler. Come to think of it, I think that maybe our President ought to wear his Bolo Mask when he does his speeches. My grandfather, a man of limited education due to the untimely departure of his father and having to quit prep school to feed his family was a VERY smart person. I daresay he was MENSA. But, his common sense side was a little on the light side. He would truly enjoy the WBTV wrestling nights and curse (very violently and profanely) that dastardly BOLO....

So I can relate to your column.....

BL: In the 50s-60s, wrestling villains were about a un-Politically Correct as they could be. Over-the-top stereotypes of Nazis, Japs, A-rabs and Mandingo Warriors abounded. Imagine them in 2013 !!!!
1/24/2013 12:05:42 PM

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