Monday, September 1, 2008

College Football...finally!!!; Celebration in Sports.

Football season, 2008, has finally gotten underway, thank all that is righteous and holy, and I no longer have to search through the myriads of infomercials, reality TV shows, and reruns of Home Improvement just to find something to watch. Nor, if in need of background noise, do I need to resort to having Headline News or (gulp) CNN on to try and brainwash me on how bad things are. Now all I have to do is turn on ESPN and there will be a college football game on of some variety or quality for me to watch (or not watch.) Back a few years ago, football was only on the weekends (and occasionally Thursdays). Now it's on almost every night, and all weekend long (including the NFL games.) You could actually get the ESPN U service and have football games on 24/7, all week long, if you wanted. Ah, the shear bliss of it all. Would that the Romans could see Christians being eaten all week long (but then, there'd be no Christianity to keep things half way stable around here.)

This first week, it was the nearly endless parade of powerhouses inviting Po-dunk U to their houses for endless amounts of cash, just to beat up on them for practice before the actual games begin. It's always been done, but now it's done more. And the great thing is that, while usually it's a sure thing, occassionally... It's all because of parity. With the sole purpose of most guys' dreams to become an NFL player, there are myriads of really good players out there (that could be for good or ill, but that's another blog). And the main teams can only have so many players on their teams, so the trickle down effect makes even the bad teams not so bad. I call to attention the historic upset of then (5) Michigan to 1-AA Appalachian State. So it was with baited breath I waited for something like that to happen the first week of this year. It almost did, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Arkansas, with new coach Bobby Patrino, fresh from his dumping of the ailing Atlanta Falcons (and who had also dumped a great Louisville team just so he could coach Mike Vick and the Falcons, a dream that went to the dogs), were trailing Western Illinois until the very last second, when a field goal kept them from the depths of disaster. Oh well, it would have been just delicious to see W. Illinois beat up on the Razorbacks.

Another aspect in the news was the supposed crackdown of celebration of NCAA players after plays or touchdowns. I mean, anything gets flagged for 15 yards. I agree completely with the sports broadcasters, who saw this move by the NCAA as a feeble attempt at controlling their players, who can't be controlled off campus (often getting in trouble), but are under strict control on the field. The players can't have any fun, and the audience is kept from sharing in the joy of a play, a celebration of an athlete's culmination of a lifetime of training for a few minutes in the limelight. Knowing that most won't get to the NFL, it is natural for the players to celebrate their achievements. In every competition, there are winners and losers. Let the winners cheer and dance, and let the losers work harder, so they will be able to dance later. If there's no difference between winning and losing, then what does it matter. The day the players are forced to score points and walk calmly off the field and sit down like programmable drones is the day I stop watching football. And if they are going to be that strict, I see no reason why the best athletes shouldn't go to the NFL without finishing their degrees, where they can have fun doing the thing they most want to do in life. The NCAA, with this ruling, is making players forfeit the back-up careers just because they can't express themselves on the field. To me, it's a violation of their first amendment rights, to express themselves. As long as it's not harming the other players (taunting), then let them have their fun, and let us have ours.

And yes, I am ready for some Football. :)

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