legalacidity's musings


Sportsmanship: Dying a Slow Painful Death on ESPN

I just finished watching perhaps the greatest college football game ever played. Down 38-26 with just over six minutes to play, Texas staged an improbable comeback and finally, finally, stopped USC's win streak, and hopefully, all talk of Matt Leinart, et al, for at least a few hours. It was a great game, and I, for one, am now a bit of a Texas fan. Like many college football fans, over the last few years I've gotten sick of hearing about USC, and I'm glad someone finally stepped up and beat them.

Vince Young put on one hell of a show, too: 467 total yards, 200 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and a two point conversion. No sacks. No interceptions. Quite possibly the best performance by a college football player ever. USC, as a team, had 573 total offensive yards; they beat Vince Young by only 106 yards.

As a fan of college football, I began to dislike USC when I began to perceive that they were carrying themselves just a bit too cocky, a bit too arrogant for their own good. Some might say that it was justified--they'd won 34 games in a row, two national championships, etc. But I feel like that no matter what you've accomplished, to truly be great you have to ground yourself in humility and simply be humble. When you score, act like you've done it before. When you talk about your opponent, say nice things about them. USC coach Pete Carroll did so after the game, praising Texas and Vince Young. Matt Leinart, a prime example of how not to carry yourself while standing in the spotlight (with said spotlight being held by Nick Lachey), said immediately after the game that he felt like USC still had the better football team.


Last time I checked, Matt, those types of things were settled on the field, and, uh, I hate to break it to you, but you guys lost. So, technically, you guys aren't the better football team. Texas is, because they beat you. Plain and simple.

Leinart's comment seems to be another sign of a disturbing trend in college football. After being thoroughly dominated by Alabama by a score of 31-3, Florida defensive end Jeremy Mincey blamed the loss on poor field position, saying that "our back was against the wall the whole game," and that "we could and should have won."

Huh? 31-3 and that's what you're saying? I think that a "we could and should have won" type of comment would come after losing on a last second field goal or touchdown, where it would be much more appropriate. I guess that Mincey had to say something after his comments before the Alabama game where he said that Alabama "shouldn't be a big problem." This was right after Florida's 16-7 win over Tennessee, when he said that "we were a couple of mistakes from beating the crap out of them." Uh, sure, whatever you say, buddy.

It just seems to me that sportsmanship is dying a slow death in college football. Sack the quarterback? Go nuts like you've never done it before! Score a touchdown? Go crazy, folks! You've never done it before, so this may be your only chance to really stick it to the other team! Break up a pass? Celebrate like you've just won the lottery, baby! You've earned it! Emulate the referee by waving those arms to indicate an incomplete pass, just in case he didn't see it! Just another reason why SportsCenter and ESPN are slowly killing the very sports they cover. ESPN and other media outlets thrive upon this showmanship, splashing it all over their promos and glorifying it nightly, yelling "Boo-yah!" all the way to the bank. Nowadays, you're able to talk about how you're going to win and how bad the other team is before you play them, and then after you lose you still say that you have the better team. It's illogical, and it's sad.

What if regular joes working their nine to fives reacted to routine things like college football players today? The UPS man delivers a package, backflips to his truck, and then yells profanities at the passing FedEx truck. Or maybe a car salesman closes a sale, runs around the showroom screaming his head off, and then randomly does pelvic thrusts in the direction of other salesmen. Or how about a doctor sews up someone's injury and then chestbumps all of the nurses and anyone else around, yelling "Take that, wound!" It'd be absurd, for sure.

Now that I think I've written a kickass blog entry, I'm going to go do cartwheels and handsprings and talk smack to the computer. I've earned it!

11:30 p.m. - 2006-01-04

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