With today being December 31st as well as the start of Purdue's conference season I thought now would be a great time to look ahead to the new year and make some resolutions. It's this time of year where hundreds of strangers show up at your gym looking to change their lives, it's when the healthy food sections of grocery stores are crowded, and it's when your normal running or biking path seems extraordinarily crowded. Everyone wants to make changes to some thing or another with the dawning of a new year. We look at it as a way to make a fresh start. Surely Purdue sports and their fans can do the same right? I want to take a look at three major groups and make some resolutions for those groups. First let's take a look at Purdue fans and how we can resolve to make ourselves better.
- Fan bases by nature are fickle. We like to win, I get it. I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Reds (no playoffs), Purdue football (last place finish), Purdue basketball (last place finish), and the Tampa Bay Bucs (worst record in NFL) so I know all about losing and heartache. At least I'm not a Cubs fan though! Through all this losing though I stick by my team because gosh darnit they are my team! I love them! Sometimes though I let the losses impact my day a bit too much. Purdue football loses a heartbreaker to ND or IU or anyone else really and it festers. My poor wife has to deal with me sulking for a couple hours. I resolve, and I hope you do too, to not let the losses fester. A wise man once told me after the Wofford loss that there's much more to life than sports. That's something we should all remember.
- Second, and more importantly, is to remember that the players are just college kids. I'm not too far removed from being a college kid myself so I remember all the pressures and trials these guys and gals are going through. We can constructively criticize and cheer the team on but there's no need for bullying or name calling. I know the internet makes this stuff easy, twitter especially, but let's try and raise ourselves about that shall we? Let's represent Purdue with some pride.
- It's been awhile since I worked in the department. 2010 to be exact. Since then things haven't exactly gone great. Coincidence? I think not. The clear answer is to offer me the position of Athletics Director. It's the only solution that makes logical sense.
- Alright so number one there isn't real. For the Purdue Athletics Department let's resolve to continue to grow from a PR and communication standpoint. We all know that Purdue isn't always on point with what they say to the public and specifically to the JPC. The infamous Nancy Cross letter will haunt them for many years to come. What they said wasn't necessarily wrong, that Purdue fans need to do more, but the manner in which it was said was incredibly inelegant. A couple times this year someone related to Purdue has basically come out and said that winning isn't their main goal. I get it. They want to focus on the student part of student-athlete. I get that and appreciate it. That said we don't pay to attend sporting events to watch our team lose. That leads me to number three.
- You've got to resolve to win more! I know that's an absurd thing to resolve but come on! You've got to give us something! This group of fans is leaving and leaving quickly. We've all stuck around through some hard times but we need to see some improvement. How about basketball makes a move in conference play? The conference doesn't look incredibly strong right now so that's a great place to start.
- Full disclosure here I'm not a coach and I don't get paid millions of dollars. That being said here's what I'd like to see from the Purdue coaching staff as far as new year's resolutions go. For Coach Hazell I'd like him to be more open to different players. I still for the life of me can't understand the lack of playing time for Dolapo McCarthy. When Purdue needed a sure handed receiver at the end of the year, or all year really, it had Dolapo just sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs. In a great exit interview over at Gold and Black it sure sounded like Dolapo didn't really understand it either. Head over there and give it a read. I guess what I'm asking for you coach is to be less stubborn. If something doesn't work, change it. You don't have to be loyal to a fault to these players. Your job security is based on them winning so if someone is stinking it up yank them!
- For Coach Painter I want him to resolve to focus on playing Purdue basketball. Defense. It used to live here. I vaguely remember it. We've all heard the rumors and read stories about Painter's personal life. I don't want to rehash that garbage here. His personal life is personal but when it intrudes on his work, as I tend to think it has, then it becomes an issue. For the last three or so seasons we've heard about a lack of lateral quickness from a Purdue defensive perspective. If that's the case figure out a way to cover it up. If you want to play a zone to mask that deficiency then play zone but don't half ass it like Purdue is this year. I miss the Painter from year two. Before the Baby Boilers when he used a rag tag bunch of players, plus Teague and Landry, to have one hell of an entertaining year. Let's get back to that.