Over the years, I have written about things that have made my readers angry:the Columbia no-smoking ordinance, gun control legislation, and religion and government, either together or separately.
Now, I am taking another stance that is certain to upset a few more readers. This weekend, I will NOT be cheering for the Tigers.
With this year’s dismal performance of the MU Tigers in conference play, there was no re-evaluation of my loyalty. I lived in Denver for 25 years, five months and 22 days (but who’s counting). I taught at the University of Colorado in Denver and took postgraduate classes in Boulder. There is something to be said about school loyalty, even if that school is perceived as the “enemy.”
In some sense, there is little difference between Boulder and Columbia. The cities and universities are about the same size. Both maintain an unconditional love of school and team, the need to support fellow fans and tailgate parties, the same sports bars downtown and the same belief that Saturday needs to be renamed “Footballday.”
In fact, I am not a fan of football. Really. I think football (American football for my foreign readers) is a gladiator sport that requires nothing more than brute force, the ability to zigzag run and, upon scoring, to know some cool dance steps.
Spectators sit in the coliseum wanting hard hits, hoping for the sight of blood or to catch the occasional helmet forcibly removed from a player without the aid of its wearer and hopefully without the head still inside. Add lions, chariots and spears, and Nero would be a happy camper.
Eleven of the 16 text messages I received via Twitter from both Columbia newspapers last weekend concerned The Game.
- Homecoming: “SLIDESHOW: All decked out for Homecoming 2009,” Missourian;
- The game: “At halftime #Mizzou is losing to Texas 35-7,” Tribune;
- The slaughter: “Longhorns throttle Tigers,” Tribune and;
- Football players are really smart guys: “MU football players might score on the field, but do their academics measure up?” Vox Magazine. The key word here is “might.”
I prefer baseball and golf. Each requires more than brute strength to compete. Yes, professional golfers and ball players are cheered for their 300-yard plus drives and home runs. Yet it is course and field management, the ability to sink the 10-foot putt or hitting a single, and intellectual strategic play that wins. Not brute force.
Columbia’s obsessive dislike for the University of Colorado Buffaloes became clear the second day I was in town. It was lunch at Hoss’s Market & Rotisserie on Nifong and Forum. My host made sure we were seated in a booth surrounded by MU football memorabilia and a hanging newspaper report about the infamous “Fifth Down.” All I have heard since moving to Columbia is about the infamous “Fifth Down.” I only have one thing to say about the infamous “Fifth Down” — that was last century. Get over it!
Last year, a friend took great pleasure in reminding me of the dismal year Colorado had in and out of conference play. The Buffs could not find their way out of a paper bag and running backward seemed easier than forwards. But snowmelt flows downhill, from Boulder Creek to the Platte River to the Missouri. MU is now neck-deep in the flood.
Football is not the only way to measure the success of a university. CU-Boulder has, for example, four Nobel Laureates; MU has one. Tony Lupo, a professor and department chair in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, was part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore. CU is surrounded by startup and Fortune 500 high-tech corporations; MU has very few. (Dear Next Mayor: Think about the high-tech and jobs thing during your campaign.)
CU has a ski resort 20 miles away; MU has… well that is not fair, is it?
CU has the some of the best science and mathematics departments in the U.S.; MU football coaches need to learn how to count. (Burn)
So let the rivalry continue. Black and Gold versus Black and Gold. May the better team win. And please don’t hate me because of my loyalty. Go Buffs.
David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Read his blog at InkandVoice.wordpress.com. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.