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Column: My swan song and spicy opinions you can’t fight with me on

That’s all, folks.

Florida Atlantic v Ohio State

After nearly a decade with LGHL, I’ve made the tough decision to step away. It’s been such a fun ride — literally what a dream to be able to write weekly about these programs that I love!

It’s been such a joy to write about Ohio State and the broader sports landscape, from the silly, like If Big Ten schools were characters from The Office and Halloween-themed game previews, to the serious, analytical and beyond.

Anyway, since none of you can fight me on it, let’s wrap this journey with some spicy takes, shall we?

Kevin Warren was a good commissioner and his loss is a big one for the Big Ten

I know a lot of folks were not fans of Warren, whose time with the conference was brief compared to his predecessor. That’s because his first days on the job were spent trying to figure out what the heck the conference was going to do in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hindsight is 20/20, and sure, some of Warren’s decisions probably look worse with that benefit. However, his leadership over three years was net-positive by a long shot. The conference remained one of the most stable, profitable, future-proofed and forward-looking in the nation.

Highlights? Expanding the Big Ten with two of the biggest brands in sports while inking a monster media deal and navigating the new NCAA environment wrought with disruption from the transfer portal and NIL.

Championship games need to be earlier

Since I’m wrapping up my time before I can do my next bi-annual rant of why college championship games should be played not at 9 p.m. ET on Mondays, we’ll just sum here. By the time Monday night rolls around, I’m wiped and have zero capacity to host friends and watch a championship football or basketball game. If the game is skewed by halftime, I’m not bothering to watch the rest. If the game is an all-SEC rematch, I’m not watching at all.

I like the targeting rule

Sorry not sorry. There will be no football in 20 years if kids don’t grow up playing football after incontrovertible evidence has emerged on the impact of helmet-to-helmet hits and traumatic brain injury. It’s also just lame to expect WWF-style wrestling on the football field. Big hits are less cool than acrobatic catches or shifty rushes and the latter moves have the advantage of not generally causing concussions.

Student athletes deserve to be treated with respect

Even if college athletes are making thousands of dollars with NIL deals, they still don’t deserve anyone’s spite when they do something wrong on the field or hard court. To all those who have ever thought it was okay to write to a collegiate kicker on Twitter after they missed a field goal, you’re in the wrong. And if you say something to justify your behavior like “I had money on that game,” then maybe you shouldn’t be gambling if you really couldn’t afford to play with that money.

Racism and sexism do exist in sports and they need to go

See how PO’d people get when Black players comment on issues impacting Black players or how Troy Aikman felt like it was okay to say that hopefully we can “take the dresses off” quarterbacks. It’s real and it’s dumb and your sports are only going to lose future fan bases if it continues. Because if you need another reason than just treating people with equality and justice, then the future of being able to watch your favorite sport should be a good motivator.

Sports should be accessible to all. Whether it’s on the field or court, on the sidelines, in the front office or even simply as fans, we should all be able to enjoy them in whatever capacity we choose without retribution.

And stop quizzing that girl at the bar on her sports knowledge. She’s not interested and it’s super f***ing annoying.

We need to stop idolizing athletes and coaches as heroes just because they’re good on the field

It’s so easy to look up to sports figures because of their superhuman prowess. Who didn’t want to be like Mike or idolize LeBron James? But just because someone is good at sports doesn’t mean they’re someone to look up to (see Charles Barkley not being a role model). It’s a good lesson that just because someone is strong or can throw a good spiral doesn’t correlate to being a good person.

Of course, it doesn’t preclude them either. There are some examples of amazing humans who happened to play sports and who have gone above and beyond to support their communities. LeBron, as a much older person, invested in a school in his hometown and did what Michael Scott could never do with Scott’s Tots — that’s hero-worthy. Malcolm Jenkins used his platform to promote social justice in communities where he played. Again, the off-the-field contributions are notable and impressive.

Anyway, this being the last column I’m writing for LGHL, I did want to end with a word of thanks to all our readers, my fellow writers (including Brett, Jami and Megan whom I had the chance to work with so regularly), Matt and Gene, and of course my darling husband and pets who are always my inspiration.

Wishing you all the best, adopt, don’t shop and as always, Go Bucks!