Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Great Trojans, Bad Parents

At some point in our adulthood – probably sometime in our 20s – we actually become adults and take complete responsibility for ourselves, regardless of whatever our parents may have done or not done to screw us up. We see a case in point this week, as one U-Dub Husky does his best to provide a few quotes for the Trojan bulletin board.

Apparently, Marlon Wood, son of former USC great Richard Wood, grew up hating the Trojans. Reared in Tampa, where his dad played for the Buccaneers, Wood rebelled when his mother and father rooted for USC. He became a fan of the Florida schools, but chose to play for U-Dub by way of Alabama State and Pasadena City College.

Here’s what Marlon told the Seattle Times and the Seattle PI this week:
If the game was on TV and [the Trojans] were playing Notre Dame, I would go out and buy a Notre Dame T-shirt and wear it around the house. I wanted them to lose. I never grew up a fan of [USC]. You could call it hatred. That's what it is.
Where’s the parental guidance here? Wood’s father, USC’s first three-time, first-team All-American and a member of two USC National Championship teams ('72, '74), supposedly steered his son away from football, thinking Marlon would have an easier road in another sport away from his father’s shadow. That’s nice, but it didn't work, and it doesn’t explain the kid’s “hatred” for USC. Perhaps you can blame geography, but that doesn’t fly with my three USC-loving kids living in Connecticut.

The bottom line is Richard Wood is a bad parent, at least as far as any USC fan is concerned. Truth is we’ve seen this before. Ryan Nece, son of Ronnie Lott, the greatest defensive back of all time, played linebacker for ugla a few years ago. I love Ronnie Lott, but we as Trojans can’t deny the obvious fact that he was a terrible parent, too.

Of course, Nece and Marlon Wood weren’t recruited by USC because they were never at the top of any high school recruiting list. During the Larry Smith downturn, USC gave away roster spots and scholarships like fraternity memberships. We had famous kids like Matt Butkus, son of Dick and the Loyola High buddy of back up QB Corby Smith, Larry’s son. Even O.J.’s son Jason Simpson was on the team back then. None of these kids saw any significant playing time, but they took the roster spot of those who could have.

That crap doesn’t happen under Pete Carroll. His son Nate, a senior WR/QB at Peninsula High last year isn’t on the team. And Ashton White, son of USC Heisman winner Charlie, is nowhere to be found. Most recently, Casey Matthews, son of Trojan great Clay Matthews, was not offered a scholarship and committed to Oregon, even as his brother Clay Jr. fights on as a worthy USC linebacker.

No doubt it must be tough on these former Trojan All-Americans when their kids don’t make the cut at USC, but it’s an entirely different thing for a USC kid to play for ugla or develop a “hatred” for our school. The lack of love and respect from within the Trojan Family is disturbing, and obviously the result of bad parenting.

The good news is that the football bounces both ways. Mark Tyler, a USC commit and a teammate of Matthews at Oaks Christian, is the son of former ugla and NFL star Wendell Tyler. The kid is now the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit according to ESPN, having moved up a spot to replace another Oaks Christian teammate (and future domer) Jimmy Clausen, who fell three spots to No. 4. Mark grew up rooting for and presumably wearing the “powder keg blue.” But he is coming to USC, and we welcome him to the family.

Of course, we as Trojans must now recognize Wendell Tyler as an awesomely good parent!

As for Marlon Wood let’s hope he comes to grips with what his father did to him as he enters actual adulthood over the next few years. Perhaps he’ll take full responsibility for his actions and realize that embracing his parents’ heritage is much more fulfilling than rebelling against it. Certainly, this point will be driven home to him this Saturday, when his team is beaten by his father’s alma mater.

Fight On! Beat the Huskies!
East coast bias

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