Peace in the (Death) Valley
Against my better judgment, I was reading some articles yesterday about the Bama/LSU game this weekend. Last season and this season, I have done my best to stay away from the media hype surrounding this game because it turns 60 minutes of football into something it doesn’t need to be. You see LSU and Alabama have had a deep hatred for each other for more years than I can count, but nearly two years ago that hatred entered a new level of hell. Nick Saban became the coach at Alabama in January 2007 after leaving LSU for the NFL, and that very statement is what sent LSU into a tailspin.
Now, I fully understand where LSU is coming from. I became a Texas Longhorn fan the very second Dennis Franchione left Alabama for Texas A&M. It had nothing to do with Texas A&M and nothing to do with their players. It had everything to do with the way Dennis handled the situation. So, I spent the next several seasons pulling against Texas A&M and hoping they’d lose so badly that Dennis would lose his job. In the end, I got my wish, but to what satisfaction, I don’t know. During those seasons that I was trying to exact my revenge on Franchione, I was indirectly exacting it on the players and fans of Texas A&M. They did nothing wrong. They simply asked him to be their coach.
So I go on to read this article in ESPN the Magazine about Hating Nick Saban. It’s mainly about the lengths to which LSU fans have gone to deeply hate Nick Saban for returning to college football at a rival SEC school. In a counter article written by Forrest Gump author Winston Groom, he asks, “Well, what was he supposed to do—go back to LSU and ask them to fire Les Miles? Apply for a job coaching Slippery Rock?” That really basically said it all for me, but still LSU fans hate Alabama for because of the man standing on the sideline with the headset on. It bothers me greatly really. I want to play a 60 minute football game that has no other drama surrounding it than what happens on the field in those 60 minutes. I can’t make LSU fans stop hating Alabama, but I wish there was some way that I could convince them of how unhealthy this type of hatred is. There is healthy hatred of your sports rivals, but this is just wrong. Even the law enforcement in Baton Rouge is concerned about the safety of our players and coaches…not to mention our fans. That scares me a little more than the possible outcome of the game.
In other college football news, the aforementioned Texas Longhorns dismissed lineman Buck Burnette for posting a racial slur on his Facebook page about President-elect Obama. This makes me wonder if Colt McCoy had done the same thing, would the team have dismissed him? I always wonder if that blanket offense of “violating team rules” applies to everyone on the team or just the players below a certain line on the hierarchy. Incidentally, kudos to Texas for dismissing this player.
I’m thinking good thoughts tonight for my high school football team as they take on our arch/cross-town rivals for the bazillionth time in history. GO TARPONS!