I don’t actually feel all that ranty. Maybe it’s because 88 degrees actually feels cool? Who knew? But no rain, even though apparently that beautiful state to the south of us, once the home of Big Butter Jesus, I mean O-haaaaa-o, had a derecho today. I wanted rain today but I was NOT up for a derecho. I used that word in a work meeting today and people were saying “Whaaa?” Until I asked, “Who remembers The Green Storm of 1980?” “Ohhhh yeah.” Yes. Derecho? No thank you. Not today. According to Wikipee, the word “derecho” was first used in 1888 or thereabouts. I thought it was a new word in this century.

Of course, now that I have ranted about the aurora shooter (not gonna mention his name or the fictional character he thinks he is), that leaves only one topic (well, besides politics and I’m not going there today). And that is… Drum roll… Football. Of course. What else is in the news these days. I am not going to rant and rave about rape. That is one of the few issues that I see in black and white. It’s wrong. Don’t do it. To anyone.

I did not study the NCAA sanctions against Penn State in detail. Actually, I heard most of it while driving the gauntlet my eight-mile homeward commute has become this summer. That is, in snippets between shifting gears and stopping at stop lights. I couldn’t tell you the name of the NCAA president (without googling) or accurately repeat his words. I know that there are a lot of opinions out there, including “It’s too strict, it punishes innocent athletes. Football subsidizes other less popular sports, *women’s* sports…” I also have some reservations. A grownup does a horrifically awful thing, other grownups apparently help him get away with it in some misguided attempt to save their own careers and/or reputations and college students who had nothing to do with it are hurt. Is that good? I have mixed feelings.

But I got the essence of some of what he said and I felt like he was reading my mind.

Yes, let’s not forget that the focus of education is not sports. It is academics. And let’s ratchet back the hero worship culture that surrounds our elite sports.

I don’t really have anything against football. One of my cousins played high school football when I was a kid and I was soooo excited when my dad and grandaddy took me to a football game. When *I* got to high school, I thought I was so cool because I was a “line leader” or whatever it was in the marching band. In the yucky old band uniform I got randomly assigned as an 8th grader, marching in the rain, snow, and mud that October brings to Sault Ste. Siberia. Yeah, you are really cool when the mud sucks your shoe right off your foot… Still. I don’t care to watch football (speak slowly, I am blonde and I don’t get all those downs and things) but I love when Michigan has a home game and my whole town fills with people. I love when Michigan (or any team) is in the Rose Bowl and people are watching it on TV (yes, TV). I don’t even mind that some of those fancy football player heroes (but not all of them…) are dumb as rocks and will only make their way in the world via football. We all gotta be somewhere and probably better that some of these guys are making a good living doing something other than shootin’ up people in the ‘hood or whatever. I have no problem with that.

But. Some of these football players *are* heroes (and so are some doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, bankers, cello players, teachers (TEACHERS, anyone?) and whatever). Some others are not so much. Many of our young footballers have been elevated to a status that they are too immature to handle and are worshipped for the wrong reasons. Some of those kids take advantage of the young women who adore them and some of them go on to acquire positions of power so that they can take advantage of just about anyone.

In the grand scheme of things, the Penn State thing is just a bump in the road. College football will (and should) go on. I hope that no football coach ever again rapes a child because he/she is a trusted adult in a program for disadvantaged kids. I hope that no football player ever again rapes a fellow student (or anyone), believing that he is a hero. But those things will probably happen again. Just like mass shootings at movie theatres or malls or McDonalds restaurants or wherever. I do not have the answer.

Good night,

3 Responses to “Pick-a-rant”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I have mixed feelings too. As you pointed out, the guilty people didn’t get punished, but the innocent players will pay for it. It seems unfair, yet I DO agree that there need to be consequences. (and that football and sports are way too important at our universities, leading to all sorts of abuses, not only sexual)

  2. Sam Says:

    Pick-a-rant. Is that an app?

  3. jane Says:

    on the ‘innocent players will pay for it’ front – the NCAA actually managed to minimize that this time, because current players and recruits can transfer to another college if they want, without having to sit out a year as they typically do. and the NCAA also made clear that the $60M fine cannot be taken out of the budgets of other sports – so again, other athletes won’t be impacted. also, can’t impact the educational budget. so they’ll find some slush fund, which they certainly have.

    is it perfect? no.