Back To School

It’s something old people say.

“The college game comes across as such a more enjoyable experience to watch than a bunch of professionals who profit from playing a kid’s game.”

I’m now in the club of old people.

I graduated college in 2001. If you didn’t major in mathematics, that makes me 33 and a complete hermit on Saturday afternoons. It’s breakfast with Chris, Lee and Kirk; lunch in some remote midwest town that you wouldn’t vacation on purpose; an afternoon snack with Verne in the SEC; dinner with Brent in the marquee game of the week and a late night snack in the Pac-12. That’s a solid 12 hours on the bed, couch, chair and then bed again. It’s heavenly.

I’ve cancelled weddings for Stanford-Oregon, made up excuses for Alabama-LSU and don’t even want to mention how I was able to see South Carolina-Clemson last season. There’s a certain level of youthful exuberance that contributes to college football that you can’t find in professional football. Sure, everyone wants to win and the plays look quasi-similar. In college football, the entire team could party into that Friday night and not play at the highest level on Saturday afternoon. In the NFL, someone loses a source of income if they don’t perform to a high level, so relatively few players chance a shot at dismissal.

I went to the University of South Carolina in Columbia during a stretch that the Gamecocks couldn’t purchase a win against a Pop Warner team. They lost 21 consecutive games. 21! You can’t imagine the joy that enveloped the Five Points bar scene when the lowly Gamecocks knocked off Georgia in my senior year. And I think that level of commitment to your school offers a more true fan feeling that rooting for a NFL team.

There’s free agency in professional sports. You basically are, as Jerry Seinfeld pointed out, rooting for laundry. College teams are fun to watch develop and grow into a monster or collapse into a disappointment. You absolutely never know what you will get in any sport, but that statement rings truer in collegiate athletics. Some of these kids are 18.

I’m not hating on the NFL. It’s the gold standard of leagues and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. I’d just rather have a pizza in Tuscaloosa than nachos in Nashville.

Oh, and we have professional referees in college football. That’s enough professionalism for me.

Follow @WBALDash on Twitter for all things sport. And otherwise.


One Response

  1. Hi, Chris, I love your post! Your life sounds like FUN!!!!! Your style of writing reminds me of Frank Deford. Chuck finished his book, so I’m now reading “Over Time.” Great stuff. Your posts are so interesting, even to non-sports types like Chuck and me. You reach everyone. That’s the mark of a really good writer; you can make just about anything interesting. I hope you’re saving these posts. I see a “Dash of Dachille” book in the future. Someone’s got to keep things going; Deford won’t be around forever. You’re certainly in his league. Hope all is well. Take care, Betsy

    Elizabeth Jackson


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