FAN NO MORE

riot 2riot 3

On Saturday, October 18, my college Alma Mater, West Virginia University, sent its hired football guns out to play against the hired guns of Baylor University.

The latter was then ranked as the fourth best team in the country, a ranking achieved by…yes, beating all the other teams on its schedule prior to Saturday…but mainly by dint of publicity that exploits the inexplicable interest in what amounts to blatant immoral activity condoned by craven university presidents, played out on the athletic field led by coaches and other personnel allegedly with the best interests of the football players at heart.

They call them student-athletes but that is a misnomer, intentionally so.The players are recruited after success playing the game during their high school careers. Now just how kids in high school have “careers” is a puzzle to me. Most of these players have no realistic expectations of playing at the professional level, and even fewer will, in fact, ever see the inside of an NFL stadium without buying a ticket. But somehow their coaches..and probably their family and friends and fans back home…feed them the notion that perhaps, just maybe, could be, that they will do well enough to “go to the next level”, to play on SUNDAY (or Monday, or Thursday, or Saturday, or any other day that suits the TV monster which finances all this).

But back to our game in Morgantown, West By God Virginia. The Mountaineers defeated the Bears (and in this state that happens during the appropriate hunting season all the time) and the normal joy attendant to such activities when you are on the winning side, mushroomed, snowballed, escalated, exploded into a night of violence and fires and pepper spray and tear gas and foul language and probably even some hair pulling and beer can littering. (Just a feeling I have about the last item.)

Today on Facebook a friend posted a story about the rioting. It’s intent was to show how a bunch of white folks could exhibit such destructive behavior without drawing a peep from FOX News (like the pumpkin riots in Keene, N.H.a few days prior) but if three blacks broke windows in Ferguson, Missouri during demonstrations regarding the Michael Brown shooting, FOX would have been all over the story.

I don’t disagree but that argument, if any, is for another time and place. To me this serves as an example of another aspect of big time college sports being thoroughly corrupt. Fan behavior manifests itself in various ways in support of this immorality. In Morgantown for nearly forty years it far too often has taken this form, though usually to a lesser extent.

This took place just blocks from where I live. I’m surprised some didn’t occur out my window because my senior high rise is only two blocks from campus and the back of the building (including my window) overlooks a student residential neighborhood.

In years past I would have been celebrating such a victory, albeit without the lawlessness. I watched part of the game just so I would know when it was over as I was meeting friends downtown afterwards. I’ll admit a part of me had a twinge of satisfaction at the win. After all,over forty years of rabid fandom isn’t fully erased from four plus years of disgust at the whole enterprise and eschewing any pretense of rooting for “my team”.

I used to delude myself that WVU was somehow above the fray, better than, morally superior to other schools frequently caught up in recruiting and other scandals. That is not now and never was true.

However, this manifestation of malfeasance in the pursuit of athletic glory…actually more in the pursuit of identifying with athletic glory while having exactly zero influence on the outcome…is different only in kind and in the casting of participants in this episode.

This long running anthology series manages to supply original programming or innovative takes on old programs on a nearly weekly basis and draws high TV ratings in the process, even in the months when no games are scheduled.

I have stopped watching except in limited circumstances as explained above. But I am admittedly a fan of cable’s Investigation Discovery, a true crime show. Do you think that network could add college football to its repertoire as a spinoff?

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Comments

  • George Wood  On October 20, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Dave – shame on you for not verifying your pix. The one of the overthrown car is in my Palm Beach Post as being from Keene, NH, at that pumpkin festival. Where are the others from? Woody

    Umoc193’s Blog wrote: > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com umoc193 posted: ” On Saturday, October 18, my college Alma Mater, West Virginia University, sent its hired football guns out to play against the hired guns of Baylor University. The latter was then ranked as the fourth best team in the country, a ranking achieved by”

    • umoc193  On October 20, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Thanks, Woody, for the heads up. You were right.

      To all my readers the overturned car image in this post was actually from the Keene, N.H. pumpkin riot, not from Morgantown. So far as I can tell after double-checking no cars were overturned at all in the mayhem following the game. Thus, both the picture and the written reference have been removed. I apologize for the inaccuracies.

  • Richard Russell Wood  On October 20, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    I’m sorry about this, but I’m no fan of football anymore period, considering that most NFL players end-up brain-damaged, and that the NFL denies the evidence of same.

    • toadsly  On October 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      I, also, have no interest in football, or any other sport. Life’s too short to waste time watching adults playing children’s ganes.

      • Devildog  On October 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Sports v. those “weird” TV programs Minx and Toadsly seem to enjoy so much. Hmmm! “We” played those games as children, still play a very few of them, enjoy watching them,so bug off-you should/could have ended your post after the first sentence (you “elitist”).

        • toadsly  On October 21, 2014 at 1:29 PM

          I respect your opinion, BFF!

          • Devildog  On October 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

            See, the briefer your post, the better it is.

  • Little_Minx  On October 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    On tonight’s World Series on TV, one of the announcers mentioned that after KC Royal Lorenzo Cain was cut from his school basketball team he asked his mother if he could sign up for football, and she said “No,” because of the dangers. She did, however, allow him to sign up for baseball — and the rest is history. From what I’ve read lately, Mama Cain was simply an early adopter of this view, and that more and more parents (mothers especially) are choosing to direct their children into less violent, less damaging sports than American football, particularly due to its inherent risk for permanent brain damage becoming more widely known.

    • Little_Minx  On October 22, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Another reason mothers are turning against football is the epidemic of domestic violence against women by players, of which only (to mix metaphors) the tip of the iceberg has been in public view. The causes of so much domestic violence could well be a blend of a sense of players feeling they can get by with anything and ‘roid rage.

      “For battered NFL wives, a message from the cops and the league: Keep quiet
      Two women narrate their ordeals. ‘You will hear of a wife murdered before you hear another one come forward’ ”:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/17/for-battered-nfl-wives-a-message-from-the-cops-and-the-league-keep-quiet

      • Devildog  On October 22, 2014 at 11:37 PM

        Mothers have not allowed their kids to play football for a long time. Maybe there are more now. Mama Smith told her kid he couldn’t play football, he had no other outlet to learn all the benefits of being on a high school team and turned to the streets-and was shot to death two years later. I have no point-what’s yours?

        Is there a greater incidence of domestic use involving football players than in the general community or in the community with a similar make-up as the NFL? I don’t know-do you? I suspect if there is any mother who won’t let her kid play football because of the domestic abuse issue, that kid couldn’t play football anyway-maybe soccer.

      • umoc193  On October 24, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        The rate of domestic violence by NFL players is lower than the rate in the general population.

        As much as I acknowledge the reality of that violence in any context and believe it is still an under addressed problem, focusing on the relatively few cases in the NFL doesn’t really do the cause much good.

        I testified in such a case against a husband almost 14 years ago. My reward? the wife cussed me out one night lamenting that after his conviction, the husband could no longer go hunting, having lost his guns.

        But the issues of violence on or off the field are irrelevant to my assessment of the sport of football. I believe the big time college programs and the NFL to be corrupt with plenty of evidence available for conviction. As a courtroom analogy the violence effect, real or exaggerated, is prejudicial and is not of true probative value so far as judging the corruption.

        I realize others my desire to emphasize those aspects more, but if those were the only elements offered as proof of corruption, one might not be able to convince 12 good men and true.

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