Jason Davis: Writer’s block equals quick takes on a few items

Mar. 17, 2014 @ 12:52 AM

Every few weeks, my mental well runs dry. Coming up with column and editorial ideas day after day can get taxing. So today, I’m going to be all over the map, hitting on little pieces of this and that I’ve found interesting.

I stumbled across a video on Facebook over the week, shared by a friend, that was really thought-provoking.

The short film, titled “ReMoved,” displays beautifully and heartbreakingly the plight of children that are victims of abuse and neglect. It paints the horrifying picture of what many children in our state — and even some here in our county — face on a regular basis.

While the film is largely trying to show the difficulties of foster children, for me it illustrated something different.

While we bicker, argue and overanalyze the educational system in our state, something that’s often lost when worrying over standards, curriculum and the in-classroom experience is what’s going on in the homes of those very students.

Watching the 12-minute video I was struck by how foreign the environments that some of our children come from would be to most of us.

Could you imagine being a 10-year-old child, sitting in class trying to concentrate on long division when you were worried about your parents’ legal woes? What if your concern was more personal, like who would change your baby brother’s diaper while you were at school?

The reality created by the fictional video was disturbing, but genuine. The hurdles some children have to overcome, before school is even part of the equation, are incredibly difficult.

It really makes you think.

On a much, much lighter note, I think I’m getting the handle of this whole dad thing.

It came after a simple request my 4-year-old boy made to his mother last weekend when I was out of town on business.

“I want to watch that Jimmy movie, mom,” he told her.

What movie was he referring to? Jimmy Neutron perhaps? No way.

Rogan was asking for Jimmy Chitwood.

That’s right. Hoosiers. The 1986 Gene Hackman vehicle is among my favorite sports movies, and Rogan came into the room last month when I was watching it on cable.

Though the film has some rough edges, especially for a 4-year-old, Rogan was quickly engaged. He largely ignored the talking parts, but reveled in the basketball action. Right there in the living room, he re-enacted every move made by star forward Jimmy Chitwood, shooting the little orange ball into his Little Tikes goal.

Though he didn’t understand why those guys never dunked, he thoroughly enjoyed it. Enough to request it be played again from our DVR. Alas, mom had nuked it from the memory banks.

Perhaps a glance through the dollar bin at Walmart or Big Lots will provide him a sparkling new copy of the movie for his upcoming birthday.

Speaking of basketball, the Tennessee Volunteers recent string of wins (notwithstanding the Florida game’s result Saturday — this was written before that contest) seem to have secured the squad a spot in its first NCAA tournament since Bruce Pearl’s final year on the bench.

I’m glad for coach Cuonzo Martin.

He inherited a tough situation — sanctions from the prior coaching staff, plus a fan base that was largely still loyal to the previous coach.

While I’ve personally questioned some of Martin’s on-court decisions and whether or not he was ready to coach at this level, I’ve never wondered about what kind of person he is. By all accounts, he’s as good as it gets on personal level.

It will be nice for his Vols to finally get a date at The Big Dance, and in doing so, likely saving their coach’s job.

Unfortunately, looking at next year’s potential roster — devoid of the this year’s stars — it might be the last dancing we see for a while.