Friday, August 31, 2007

Wings, Keg and High Def...

College Football season is upon us! For 8 months I have waited, and waited, and waited. Finally it is here. The greatest spectacle in the world of sport. A combination of athleticism, media glitz and glamor, cheerleaders, parties, alcohol, mascots, traditions, rivalries, drunken fans, upsets, blowouts, cinderella stories and bar fights makes college football an unbelievable experience. And fortunately for me, GT is neck deep in the world of college football. It has pretty much cemented its place in the history of the sport by the unbelievable 222-0 win over Cumberland in 1916 well described by Wikipedia as the "Most Lopsided Game in College Football History". A great image on that wikipedia page is the scoreboard which lacked facilities for a 3 digit score, so a 2 is tacked on at the end looking rather awkward. Having already earned 4 National Championships in its history, every true Yellow Jacket starts each season with the fervent hope that we will add another one to that list.

Anyways, let me not ramble into our chances this year (which I think are pretty sweet, but I think that way every year). The first thing that some of you may have noticed is my constant usage of the term football. Now, in India, the country I call home, football is the sport where you use your "foot" to kick a "ball" into a goal, as it is for pretty much any individual not born and brought up in the USA. Unfortunately, americans decided that a sport where the kick is only used about 15 times in 60 minutes should be called football. And the sport where people use kicks about 100 times a minute, for 90 minutes, should be referred to by the meaningless nom-de-plume, Soccer. And I am being party to this desecration. Travesty!, you cry out loud. Yet, I confer upon the sport involving the pigskin the honor of the name "football" because it is easily the best damn sport in the world. No other sport involves the levels of athleticism, raw strength, talent and strategizing all at the same time. And I do not mean this in jest or sarcasm. I am being brutally honest.

First of all, the amount of tactical and strategic thinking required in the game is unparalleled in the world of sport. What appears on TV to be a barbaric and almost silly collision of human beings, is actually an amazingly choreographed dance from either team, the simultaneous existence of which on the same field may lead to crushing victory for one side, or a deadening deadlock between the two. The amount of planning, practice and effort that goes into each play is remarkable. Months of training are spent simply remembering the myriad of plays that the coach may have planned for the season.

Nowhere else will you see 300 pound men run as fast or turn as fluidly as on a football field. It is amazing to see the things men, who look like their legs should not be able to carry their weight, can do when put onto that football field. Oh, and people often quip (like I did) how Rugby players are real men, since they dont need padding. Well, rugby players do not accelerate and collide into other 300 pounders within 10 feet of them every couple of minutes. And even more unbelievable are the tackles made by 200 pound safeties who stop men twice their size running at full speed.

You may agree, or disagree with my belief that football is the best sport, period, however, there is no way i will budge an inch on it being the best spectator sport in the world. No other sport allows spectators to speculate, and strategize as much as football does. In fact, bars run games, where people try and predict the "next play" allowing the patron to pretty much play coach. And while the plotting appeals to our mind and other higher senses, it also satisfies our baser feelings with the sight of men tackling the crap out of each other.

So yeah, in 3 short years, I have become a football convert. I have just described the sport here, but when you add all the peripheral stuff that makes college football so special (most of them need to be experienced to be understood) you will probably agree with me in totality.

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