Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / July 19, 2000

The news media is an accurate barometer of where most of our hearts really are. If you’re like me, and I’m sure the majority of people are not,you have to wonder what this country is coming to? What exactly are our priorities? To find the answers to these questions, one only has to follow the news of last week.

The two hottest issues were the countdown to the Saints’ opening football training in Thibodaux and, get this, the health of Mike the Tiger. I couldalmost understand the amount of coverage, if it was confined to sporting news, but it took up part of the front page on one of Louisiana’s largest newspaper. The headline of the front-page article on Wednesday was”LSU’s tiger scheduled for surgery.” Friday’s front-page release was:”LSU’s tiger rests after surgery.” If that wasn’t enough, Sunday, theopinion page had this headline: “Get well soon, Mike.”If you happened to miss this important news, the tiger had surgery to remove a benign lemon-sized tumor from his abdomen. Before I forget therest of the story, the animal also had two root canals.

Well, enough about the animal kingdom. Back to the human race.If the Saints opened practice at Regala Park in Reserve, I wouldn’t get excited about standing around in 100-plus degree heat to watch men play football. Remember that this organization is 34 years old without aplayoff victory, if that means anything.

Getting back to priorities in our society, I think the interview by a sportswriter with the new head coach of the Saints, Jim Haslett, will clear up the questions. Part of the interview went as follows:

Sportswriter: Who is the person, other than an immediate family member, who shaped your life? Haslett: Bobby Waldron. He was one of my college coaches and a roommate.He got me going in the right direction. He was very Christian.Sportswrite: Would you make a deal with the devil to shave three years from your life to win this year’s Super Bowl? Haslett: (without the slightest hesitation) Yes.

Sportswriter: Other than your wife and children, what’s your most cherished possession? Haslett: My wife and children, but I also like my World Bowl championship trophy (in 1992, when Haslett was defensive coordinator of the Sacramento Surge in the WLAF).

Sounds like mixed-up priorities to me! I’m reminded of this saying by Wayne Martindale, The Quotable Lewis: Put first things first and we get second things thrown in. Put second thingsfirst and we lose both first and second things.

HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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