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Ask Mike Leach

Occasional wisdom by Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
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Dearest Mike,

Rare question here, I assume, from across the pond. I was hoping to get a bit of the American perspective on the sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the famous "fastest man on no legs," who was disqualified Sunday from his first run against "able" bodies in Sheffield for leaving his lane en route to a seventh place finish. I believe his case raises some interesting questions about the future of athletics in our technological age. Do you believe he should be allowed to compete in the Beijing Olympics, if he can qualify on what you might refer to as his "souped-up" prosthetics?

Ever so much awaiting your response, and Go Raiders!

Minding Another Trend Every Year

Innovation is essential to man's survival and conquering of nature, MATEY. It's very likely we wouldn't exist today if one of our enterprising anscestors among the archaic H. sapiens hadn't developed the Levallois technique of making crude stone tools 250,000 years ago (in France, no less, which just goes to . That early man would probably object to the "unfair advantage" we have today of eyeglasses, for example, since it's commonly assumed the once-thriving gaelic H. heidelbergensis went extinct primarily due to chronic nearsightedness. Kept bumping into things - rocks, sabre-toothed tigers. Bloody shame, as they say up your way.

Carbon fiber cheetah feet? I want that!
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Now all these genetics and prosthetics and additions of small sequences to serve as binding motifs to monoclonal antibodies, what do I know? I'm a football coach. But I, for one, support the efforts of the no-legged man to become the greatest runner in the world, which would be quite an achievement, really. Man has struggled for eons with nature, always the underdog, which I can relate to, but finally now we've put it on the run, and caught it, and wrestled with it like Jacob with the angel, and put in a sleeperhold, and now we're slowly suffocating our old enemy to death. And good riddance, I say. Down with the king, and no taxation without representation, and all that rot. Humanity has toiled under the Earth's totalitarian regime long enough, and now it's time for us to exercise the free will we've earned in that struggle by surfing and sitting in the air conditioning and stuff. And, if we so choose, running without legs, because nature can't tell us what to do anymore. Conditions like being born without fibulas, ankles or calf bones, those conditions are our bitch now, just like myopia. I know other people are not as eager to accelerate the evolutionary process as I am, but how many times in your life are you going to see a double amputee running alongside elite sprinters? It's worth seeing, trust me. Nature tried to limit Oscar Pistorius, and he rejected those limits. Just like the NCAA tries to limit styles of play to what it considers "efficient," and puts arbitrary restrictions on the number of eligible receivers on a given pattern, and society tries to limit what plays are "acceptable" to call in certain situations. This kid's an inspiration: if Oscar Pistorius can qualify for the Olympics on prosthetic legs, I can call a triple reverse screen halfback pass with a 46-point lead in the final minute.

People praise physical strength, but man's gift in everything he does is his mind, MATEY, and the lines are already too far past naked Greek grapplers to be stopped. Soon we'll all be running on cheetah stilts, and if that technology helps us close the gap on Texas, I'll be the first to embrace it. I want them now, actually, and if Gerald Meyers and Bobby Gleason and the International Council on Human Rights Policy would allow me to amputate my receivers' legs and install lightweight and durable carbon fiber blades from Iceland in their place, then believe me, I would. You're going to be dead in a hundred years, go for it. Live dangerously. All the naysaying, hand-wringing, tutting over, like, Barry Bonds improving his performance through "artificial" science, that's just too strong, too much. All the pundits are just a little too sure of it for my taste. Don't be a coward. Take a straight line towards your goals. The world only wants to put limits on what you can achieve, MATEY, and how, and through what channels, but Oscar Pistorius just confirms that's really up to you.

Yer bucko,
Mike Leach
Cap'n Head Coach, Texas Tech Red Raiders