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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The boys and girls of summer are hitting their (home run) strides, and we at the Department of Darts and Laurels couldn't be more pumped. The Gators softball team has earned its first-ever Women's College World Series birth, the upstart Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are the surprising leaders of their respective divisions in the big leagues, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for the Gators baseball team as it looks to put a hurting on FSU in the Tallahassee Regional this weekend for the chance to steal their way into the College World Series.

So grab an ice-cold brew, a ballpark bratwurst and some Cracker Jacks as we bring you a very special salute-to-America's-pastime (and softball, too) edition of …

Darts & Laurels

Leading off, we hurl a high and hard thanks-for-once- again-disabusing-us-of-the-idea-that-Student-Government-is-about-anything-less-than-personal-advancement DART to UF Student Body Treasurer Paul Drayton for shirking the responsibilities of his office for the personal enrichment of a summer internship at JPMorgan Chase in New York City.

While congratulations to Mr. Drayton are certainly in order for his procurement of such a prestigious internship, his act of leaving his post without resigning is tantamount to a slap in the face to the student body. As an elected Student Government official, Drayton has a duty to his fellow students to serve with distinction, or failing that, to the best of his abilities. Unfortunately, Drayton's display of hubris is the rule, not the exception, for what we've come to expect from the people elected to serve us in SG. It would be nice if the members of SG would at least pretend their office meant more to them than a line on their resumes.

Up next, we fire a it's-good-to-see-you-back-in-town-but-your-illicit-actions-make-us-frown DART to former Gators Basketball great Joakim Noah. While anyone who has led the Gators to consecutive basketball National Championships is more than welcome to return to the heart of The Gator Nation any time, we're left scratching our heads over the disappointing events of this past weekend. Noah's return to Gainesville over the Memorial Day weekend was spoiled by an arrest on charges of possession of marijuana and violation of the city's open-container law. Then, less than 24 hours after his arrest, Noah was issued two traffic citations for driving with a suspended license and for failing to wear a seat belt.

Whether he likes it or not, Noah is a role model for young, aspiring hoops stars, as well as an ambassador for his alma mater. His behavior is a poor reflection on UF and a stain on his stellar athletic contributions to the Orange and Blue. Here's to hoping Noah will get his act together and cease to be the proverbial (Chicago) Bull in a China shop.

Next, a we-always-knew-there-was-of-an-action-hero-in-you LAUREL goes to Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson (not to be confused with the silver screen tough guy of the same name, best known for his role in the "Death Wish" film series) for delivering a clarion call to the airheads in Washington on the need to look into the outrageous fuel prices facing Floridians - as well as the rest of the country - at the pump. Bronson implored Congress and President Bush to open an investigation into the possibility of price gouging. "We're being taken for a ride, and the evidence is everywhere, from the escalating prices we pay to fill up our vehicles with gasoline to the purchase of virtually all consumer goods," said Bronson.

Thanks for going to bat for Floridians while our national leaders have failed us so breathtakingly on this importan economic issue.

Batting cleanup, we present a here's-looking-at-you-kid(s) LAUREL to the UF softball team for reaching its first Women's College World Series. We extend a hearty congratulations to Coach Tim Walton and his squad for this momentous acheivement. We couldn't be prouder of our Lady Gators' display of excellence this season, and we wish them luck as they battle for the National Championship. It sure is great to be a Florida Gator!

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