Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Say It Aint So Joe

Fall, for many reason is the season of abundant joy.  Harvest, the many colors of the changing season, crisp air that hints towards winter and of course football, my favorite being college football (or at least it was).  It's a good thing that new wine vintages are released this time of year because I need a distraction...

College football is in shambles.  Money, power and the think that "winning is the only thing" has destroyed the once beautiful collegiate game.  It should be about the game, the glory and the atmosphere of a Saturday afternoon shared by a stadium of people.  tailgating with old friends, singing the fight song as the band plays on, the roar of a frenzied crowd, all things to celebrate.  Then of course the boys on the field giving their all, not for big money contracts but for a dream.  a dream to maybe make the next level sure, but for most it is the dream they share with the students, the alum and most times the state, the dream that we can be the best warriors in the land.  In its true form college football is about a love of sport.

slowly however that love has tarnished.  cheaters abound, so many school like Oregon, Ohio State, and much of the SEC are under investigation that nothing will likely be done.  We just except it as the dirt face of the new game.

many point to the desire to crown a champ as another example of futility.  the current BCS system is a mockery.  but the other options are just as lame.  truth is, a champ is not what people seek, it is a desire to create more revenue that matters to them.  the new mega conferences demonstrates that.

But then things like Penn State and Joe Paterno happen.  dirty little secrets, where rather than standing up for what is morally right, rather than being a voice for those without one, rather than protecting young vulnerable kids; a man of enormous power, reputation and prestige chose to only point out the evil but do nothing more to stop it.  Even as he knew it continued, he remained silent in public.  clearly Fear stopped him.  a fear of how this tragedy might would effect his team, his reputation, his friendship who knows but Papa Joe couldn't face his fear. In his personal failure young boys were hurt, sad.

we celebrate college players because they stand in the face of fear, sacrifice their bodies so all of us can have something to believe in on Saturdays in the fall.  I fear now that we have little left to believe in when it comes to college football.  money, power, winning; what does it all mean when we are stuck living in fear.

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