Amateur Collegiate Division 1 Football and Other Imaginary Things

November 10, 2011

As far as any reasonable person can tell, from a couch far away, Joe Paterno was never a great man.  Was he a great football coach?  Maybe.  As a person though, Joe Paterno is no Pinball Clemons, who is no Mahatma Ghandi.  Some of the players on his football team graduated from college.  He gave back.  Paterno’s status as a football coach is now forever tied to his inability to keep a member of his staff from sexual assaulting minors, including at least one on team property.

It doesn’t matter though, because football doesn’t matter.  We invest it with meaning for fun.  The swarm of failed human beings who flipped vehicles and chanted themselves hoarse in support of someone who covered for a child rapist would do well to remember that, but this should not be expected.  Those who lack even the basic empathetic skills necessary to grasp Paterno’s moral failing have given no indication that they are capable of that kind of abstract thought.

‘Disinterest’ is the term which describes the perspective with which one says to oneself ‘If I were not a Penn State student, and my self-worth were not completely dependent on the record of the school football team, I would want the criminal reported and apprehended.’    While the previous statement may be considered flippant by some, any claim that it misrepresents the morons who flipped the news truck is a claim that begs a question: Why do they care so much?

The meaning which sport has is granted to the sport by the fan.  In other words, the record of a given team only matters to you because you want it to matter to you.  If a football fan wants to imbue a team with meaning as ‘their’ team, why would they select a fake amateur one?  Because the stadium is technically part of the campus, and the uniforms bear the school crest?  Sure, why not?

Well, if the reason why not is ‘because they shield child molesters from the law,’ then any warm-and-fuzzies one gets when a pro or semi-pro athlete pretending to be a student at the same school reels one in the endzone have been trumped.  Sadly, commentary on this matter has consistently sought out dark corners, as interested parties and their legion dupes try desperately to avoid confronting the ugly truth of NCAA football.

It is not amateur.  It is not collegiate.  It is not noble, and it is not honest.  It is a beer ad.  It is poor people receiving brain damage, a choice they make when minors; often illiterate ones.    Perhaps this post takes on a bitter tone, but that is not because I hate football.  It is almost the opposite.  The NBA is gone, and deserves no attention when it returns, and for those of us looking for something to invest with meaning, College football could be that sports outlet.  Could be, but is not.

Oh yeah; and don’t apply to Penn State.

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The Newt*n-Bonds-Geithner Affair (2/2)

May 3, 2011
Barry Bonds before.

Home run champion. All-time and single season. *

continued

I went to sleep baffled, and woke up determined.  It was the same the next day, and several more, until finally I was called into the warden’s office to make a progress report.  I stated frankly that it appeared to me that the alleged trainer was assuming a completely different identity, attitude, and set of tendencies, and that my attempts to gather the least information had been unsuccessful.  I was told to use more blunt tactics, and so returned to my cell and my congenial cellmate settled on direct confrontation.

I awaited an opportunity for enough privacy to engage in a delicate conversation quietly, and said straight out:  ‘I want to know about the cheating!’

He replied ‘I don’t have any idea at all what you’re talking about!’

I said ‘I know about the cheating, but not everything, I’m sure, and I know that you know things that you have been keeping from me, and I respectfully ask that you stop doing so, and come completely clean with me about all this funny business!’

He ran his hand over his head, sighed, and chuckled ‘Funny business.  You could call it that.’

I forced down my excitement at the prospect of finally providing for my country and peace of mind the information so desperately needed, and at the same time springing myself from this prison.  I checked myself and focused on becoming a machine, recording with perfect exactness the evidence I was about to hear of the greatest fraud in the history of the wretched human race – the desecration of baseball’s record book!  A wrong against Henry Aaron and George Herman Ruth, and the very concept of fairness itself might be righted by my intense listening, so listen I did.

‘First,’ the alleged criminal recounted, ‘I entered into a contract to purchase some sensitive and controversial materials for my client.  They were easy to come by, and once I’d bought them, my client ditched the veneer of coolness, and I could see in him the appetite of the multi-millionaire – we can see the signs in the eyes of our own – and he urged me to buy up more and more, practically throwing money at me.’

‘And Bonds was the client?’ I prompted.

He looked at me as if I had demonstrated a childish ignorance or confusion.  ‘No, Bonds were one of the products,’ he stated.

‘Great heavens!’ I exclaimed.  ‘What monstrous scandal is this?’

‘You can say that again,’ my cell-mate confirmed.  ‘The Bonds which I bought were as worthless as wallpaper, and they hold up the whole world’s financial system!’

‘Financial system?’ I was confused.  ‘And why do you keep referring to him in the plural?’

‘Geithner?’

‘What?’

‘Do you mean Geithner?’

‘I don’t even know what that is,’ I confessed.

‘Tim Geithner!’

‘What team does he play for?’

‘Goldman obviously.’

‘Who?’

‘Goldman Sachs.’

‘Is that the name of the gentleman who purchased the Marlins?’

Anderson stared at me, agape.  ‘It is a bank.’

We sat in silence for a while as each turned over the last’s few statements, and tried to make some sense of them.  Finally it occurred to me that the person before me was not a personal trainer at all, but some sort of personal finance professional!  The bonds he referred to were the uncapitalized version, that have to do with stocks or who-cares-what.  ‘Good sir,’ I said, regaining my composure as the humour of the mistake occurred to me, ‘I am here on important government business regarding the injection of steroids and related substances by baseball players.  Your investment scandals and world economies are beyond my scope of knowledge, my mandate, and frankly, my interest.  If you cannot help with the government’s crucial work, then I must away and inform them, so that the investigation can continue and the national interest be served.  If, as you insist, this issue with the money is important, than I recommend that you bring it to the interest of the appropriate authorities.  In this case, I would imagine that that would be the office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig.’

With that I called for the guards, and after an interview with the warden and my contact at the agency, a further interview was set up, so that I could debrief those who held right of judgment over my plea deal.  The following day I sat before them and confessed the failure, and how it was not mine.  ‘How could we have known,’ said one, ‘that there are two Greg Andersons in the penal system?’  They took pity on me, in the moment, and admitted that I had made an honest attempt to set the world aright, and therefore they agreed to abide by the terms of the deal, despite its failure.  I was released the next day, which was yesterday, and now as a free man I am rededicated to my mission, which is this blog.