There’s more to the picture than what Sample tells
"So did I (go home with) the young, eager, nubile stripper that night? Much to the dismay of my male readers, no."
-- From what wasn't in Ian Sample's new book
WELL, that was interesting. Oh, my.
Surprising? Not particularly, no.
Through the excerpts -- made available by the author on the Internet -- of what a local publishing house thought best to leave out of former Hawaii receiver Ian Sample's new "tell-all" book, we learn that:
There are some college students, in this case specifically some football players, who drink, do drugs, chase (and the luckier ones are chased by) girls, see themselves as kings of the campus, make big body at the club when their tough-guy friends are around, occasionally cheat at school, laughed at the ridiculous theme music (who didn't?), and sometimes have a less idealized view of their coach than the fans who worship him from afar do.
Wow. What a shock.
OK, there are some salacious details, but the most surprising thing about this stuff (other than the fact that it's actually seen the light of day at all) is that it was mild-mannered nice guy Ian Sample who wrote it. But maybe that's the point. That's the perfect illustration of the whole thing -- that there's more to this picture than we could ever possibly know. College football is complicated like that.
There are a couple of things in there that could be dicey. But these are Sample's conclusions drawn from the vantage point of a student, a player, his opinions. I'm sure any internal UH investigation would conclude that the young lad was merely mistaken. That's only what he thought he saw. Nothing to it after all. Of course.
The thing that sticks with me, reading this, is that Sample isn't some bitter ex-player grinding his ax. He's not disgruntled; he gets it. He knows "the game" behind the game as well as anyone could. He's come to terms with it. He knows life isn't fair in football, in either direction. There's good and there's bad. He sees the whole picture now. It sounds like he just wants us to see it, too.
And it sounds like he's not the only one who wants us to see it. Sample claims on his blog he was very open with his teammates about what he was doing, that he sat down with a notepad and tape recorder and "interviewed nearly half the team on every subject" while working on the book. (Anything labeled "Locker Room Talk," anything encapsulated in quotes is not Sample, it's him quoting anonymous teammates.)
Sample telling stories out of school? Sample telling on teammates? They were telling him!
That's the thing that sticks with me, beyond the well-duh revelations, beyond the shock that anyone would actually dare bring them to light. It seems there's a hunger to be seen beyond the official image someone else picked out for them. To be seen as real.
Reading it, it resonates that Sample did this, in part, to explore within himself what it means to be a football player. And that's emotional. It's contradictory. It's complicated. There's more to that picture than we could ever otherwise know.