“I love football, when it’s pure, but not this. This isn’t pure.”-Jonathan “Mox” Moxon-Varsity Blues 1998
If you had told me that as I was 6 years into being a college sports blogger, I would be quoting James Vanderbeek in a non-satirical column in one of the most off the wall sports movies that included having a kid who has a Dad that would rather see him beat Gilroy and win Bud Kilmer’s 23rd district title than go to Brown University, runs the oopty-oop in a pre-spread offense, and decides to throw the game winning touchdown on a hook and lateral to a 350 pound offensive lineman with a pet pig named Bacon, I would have told you that you were nuts. However, this is 2020, you can toss normal out the window. Normal left a long time ago with his friends Reason and Logic and it looks like they are on an extended vacation.
That being said, I decided to break my silence after watching yesterdays Texas/Oklahoma game and also the fact that for the first time since our country was fighting Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini in Europe, and Tojo and Hirohito in Asia, there is not football being played in Commerce, Texas. I will be honest. I figured that at this point, the COVID-19 virus would be an afterthought. We would be playing by now. I figured that we would spike in late spring or early summer and then we would have something to counter the spread, and normal would be coming back wave on wave. The athletes would report back and we would go back to our lives around labor day. Masks and social distancing gone, and life back to what we called normal.
I was wrong. Instead what we got was the NCAA telling Division II schools and Division III schools that they could play essentially a half season and not play for a national championship, that was when I realized that playing football this year would be completely pointless. You play to win games. You play those games to get to bigger games, where the stakes get higher, the adrenaline increases, the passion intensifies, and you go as far as you can until you can be the last team standing. That is what any sport is all about.
However, we have to accept a new normal, we have been told. A shortened season and no national championships. We also have to accept fewer people in the stands, required masks and social distancing during tailgating, (if we have tailgating at all) and during the games. After all this new normal and we have to just adapt. That leaves me with just one thing to say.
Take your “new normal” and shove it.
If we cannot have a season where 10,000 plus people pour into Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium and tailgate for 3 hours in the North Texas sun and shade, I don’t want it. If we cannot play hated rivals for something more than just a glorified scrimmage, I don’t want it, and if we cannot play for the chance to add a third national championship banner to our stadium façade and the eastern press box, I am not interested. I understand more than anything what this virus has done, but I am afraid that certain groups have just decided that risk is not worth it and they just cancelled everything. Well, if that is the way it is, that is fine, just don’t require me to be a part of this new normal.
I believe that is how most people feel about the situation. This was supposed to be a year in which we got to visit the Florida Gulf coast and the Los Angeles West Coast for two huge games. We were going to get to host some tough teams and watch our Quarterback show the nation how he is the best quarterback in nation in Division II.
Well, none of that is going to happen, and because of that, we might as well sit this one out. I give a lot of credit to AD Tim McMurray, President Rudin, and Coach David Bailiff for not forcing something down our throats that we did not want and let’s face it, they probably did not want. I cannot speak for them, but I do know that those three men want to win and win big. Also, this crop of Seniors were the first one in a generation that entered into a program where winning was the expectation. They deserved to have a full season where they could play for something other than just the ability to play.
This virus has caused a tremendous amount of damage to just about everyone. People have lost jobs, businesses, years of work, hobbies, the ability to socialize, and many other things. Worse yet, some have lost their lives. Everyone has had to do something in some form or fashion that is different about their lives. To quote Billy Bob Thornton’s character in Armageddon; “not a soul earth can hide from this.” However, we as people have a natural desire to not let something, or anything for that matter, rule our lives. We were not designed to be shut in and shut out. That is not how we were created. We need good things in life, and we need them untainted and pure.
This is not pure. Yesterday’s game between Texas and Oklahoma should have been in the backdrop of the State fair of Texas. Mike Leach’s first game as a head coach in the SEC should have been with 100,000 fans in Death Valley trying to interrupt the Air Raid offense. Yesterday’s big win for Texas A&M over Florida should have had 100,000 Aggies packed into Kyle Field swaying to the Aggie War Hymn after the win, and Texas Tech should have had their boisterous and super passionate fan base in a black out night game against Texas in Saturday night primetime slot.
We may be getting college teams to play, but we are not getting the sport in its purest form. We are getting a watered down version of it at the hands of people who are telling us that we are going to have live with. Well, I don’t have to if I don’t want to. You may be able to do it with your individual lives, but if this is all the NCAA has to offer, count me out.
I love college football. Oh, do I love it. I love Texas A&M-Commerce Lion Football, but not this, this isn’t pure.
And a major thanks and set of props to our Administration and Coaching staff for not making us fans drink watered down football. After all, we would just spit it out anyway, and I believe so would they.
Contact us again when the product you offer is pure. After all that has happened this year in the world, I think it is the least to ask for.