We're Ever True To You ...

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well, another week of football has come and gone, leaving us with the Wednesday Wrap Up. No one has called it this so far, but it was "Upset Saturday" this past weekend, and I know a lot of us were upset. No, really. That wasn't the rain, that was the tears of 110,000 in Happy Valley.

But enough about that. Let's not talk about how the fans at Beaver Stadium didn't respect the white out (red and yellow ponchos, guys? Really?) Let's instead talk about the lighter side of football.

Here in our little corner of Virginia, our ESPN on ABC coverage comes on Channel 7 . For reasons I have yet to understand, ABC 7 News has been running this slogan, "7 on your side." I guess I'm supposed to think there are 7 men and woman fighting for me in the halls of free media or something, but I'm not really sure. Lately, though, this slogan has been shortcut a bit. For example, last night the sportscaster did a brief 15 second advertisement/station identification before the PSU game began. He came on the screen and said, "Remember, I'm Tim Brant, and I'm on your side."

Well, what does that mean? Tim Brant is on my side. Okay .... does that mean I can call him next time I need a babysitter? If I get arrested, will he come bail me out? what exactly does it mean that he is "on my side?" Obviously, he can't make my football team win, and outside of Pennsylvania, nothing seems to satisfy the media more than poking fun at ol' grouch Paterno, so I would probably not have guessed he was "on my side" if he hadn't told me. Good to know ... if I can figure out what to do about it.

Moving on! Let's talk about those crazy football stunts that students do. Have you ever noticed that in the super-hot and humid games in the South, it is a sign of fortitude to show up at football games wearing a sports coat and a tie? If you survive without passing out, you are a real fan. In the frozen north, you test your fortitude by stripping to your skivvies and painting your body blue and white. (Woops! I mean, painting your body your team colors. Silly me.) If you manage to stay for the whole game before heading to the hospital to have your hypothermia treated, you are a true fan. Having been a die hard fan for 20 years, I take these things as a given. What I don't know is how do you prove your mettle in the pouring rain? Some may say you prove it just by managing to sit through the whole game. Or, to be more accurate, stand through the whole game. Those seats are wet! (I did this once, at a PSU-Pitt game. My entire family was at home watching the game on the tube betting on how smart I was and whether I would leave once the game was inevitably won. The answer is no. I am not smart; I am a fan. So long as Joe was there wiping off his glasses, there I was too.)

But, in today's era of super-fandom "color outs" what is a loyal fan supposed to do? Body paint is water soluble (just watch the recap of Saturday's PSU-Iowa game for vivid examples). I recommend that someone needs to invent a waterproof hoodie with pull down waterproof face mask for those games that are just too wet. Champion, Nike, feel free to give me a call.

As far as the "who really understands this stuff anyway" category, the question of the week is this: Where do you spot the ball when the player goes out of bounds? Are you supposed to spot it where the foot exits? Where the ball is when the foot crosses the line? Where? Personally, I think the answer is that you spot the ball where the player was when the ref blinked. Immediately prior to the blink, the ball is in bounds, and immediately afterward, the ball is out of bounds, so the ref probably just spots the ball halfway in between those positions. But hey, that's just my theory, and that probably isn't the way the rule is written.

In the category of Most Outrageous Thing Said By a Sportscaster this weekend, the award goes to Craig James. Mr. James was heard to say something to the effect of, "We are all still waiting to find out how Florida is going to recover from that win over Tennessee last week." Really, Craig? Wins are that traumatic? Want to clarify that sentence? Were you referring to the struggle that Florida went through to put that game away and the fact that they only won by 10 points? Sorry, but since when does a win have to be by 50 points to be meaningful?

The "I'm on TV and Can Invent My Own Words" award goes to Brent Mussburger, who was heard to refer to certain football players as "so determinated." Websters will defer judgment on this new word, but I suspect you can catch it on Wikipedia already.

And as far as that football game in Happy Valley is concerned, we are all still faithful here in the home of "It's All Good if you Can Laugh." As the fight song says, "We're ever true to you, dear old White and Blue!" Miracles can happen. One loss teams can still go to the BCS. It happened in 2005.... I still plan to see y'all in Pasadena, apparently playing Stanford the way the Pac-10 is going.


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