Malee: New sports rules for a new school year
In years past, I have opened up the school year in full-on preacher mode. I’ve railed about something that’s bothered me, or implored people to change the way they look at sports. Last year, I basically told people to stop caring so much about their teams, then proceeded to contradict myself by going on week after week about how amazing the Oregon football team was.
I’m done preaching. This year, I’m stepping down from my proverbial soapbox, and I freely admit that I have no grand ideas to alter the Oregon sports landscape.
For better or worse, athletics are part of our daily lives. The love we possess for our respective teams may be irrational — and often borders on delusional — but it’s always there. Nothing can change that.
There are a few select things we can change, however, little things that don’t really bother so much as perplex me. To borrow from the HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” @@http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/[email protected]@I now present a batch of “New Rules” to keep in mind heading into the fall.
1. Oregon fans must figure out how to make an “O”
It happens at every home game I attend, be it football at Autzen Stadium or basketball at Matthew Knight Arena. The Jumbotron shows a group of fans, and they proudly throw up their “O” shaped hand signals.
Only, half of them are doing something entirely different. Instead of an “O,” they inexplicably form a diamond shape. You know, like the Roc-A-Fella @@http://www.islanddefjam.com/[email protected]@records symbol that Jay-Z made popular back in the ’90s. Unless Hova secretly attended the University of Oregon before becoming an international superstar, I’m afraid that this version of the “O” has to go. (And yes, I know that it works with the custom-made gloves that football players wear. That’s fine if, you know, you have the outlines of an “O” tattooed onto your palms.)
2. It’s time to stop pretending Oregon isn’t a big-time program
There was a bit too much gloating for my liking during the bar-fight fiasco that led up to the LSU game. With all of the calls for immediate suspensions, and the subsequent complaining when Les Miles (rightly) waited for arrests to be made, you’d almost think that Oregon hadn’t just spent the entire summer under a Willie Lyles@@http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/willie-lyl[email protected]@ storm cloud.
It’s tempting to go with the old David vs. Goliath analogy, and pretend Oregon is still some small-time underdog looking to make a name for itself. It’s easy to assume that when something goes wrong, it’s just the big boys trying to pick on the little guy; the NCAA, the mainstream media or the referees trying to bring Oregon down.
It’s also wrong. This is a big-time program now, and the days of being a lovable loser are long gone. According to an article on Grantland.com by Michael Kruse, Nike spent $2,400 per gallon on the paint for Oregon’s dark green helmets. Historic powerhouses like USC are fighting just to keep pace with Oregon’s spending and recruiting (see: Thomas, De’Anthony).
Oregon’s no villain on the college football landscape, but it’s certainly not a victim.
3. Enough with the crazy uniforms
Strangely enough, this isn’t directed at Oregon. Controversial as they are, and despite what was said above, I’ll always love Oregon’s flamboyant attire on game days.
No, I’m talking to just about everyone else. That means you, Maryland. You too, Georgia and Boise State. It has become clear of late that other schools want in on the uniform carousel, that they want to make up for their underwhelming performance with a flashy new wardrobe.
This would be perfectly fine if the uniforms weren’t a complete abomination. Say what you will about Oregon’s jersey combinations, but nothing can compare to the ugliness of Maryland’s state flag-themed uniform or Georgia’s all-red ensemble. Boise State’s new white uniforms, meanwhile, did nothing but underscore the racial makeup in the state of Idaho.
To all of these schools: Please, just stick to what you know. The old jerseys were just fine.
Not all change is for the best.
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