On The Warpath: Volume 3
Posted by William Kristoph
In yet another unbelievable moment of are you freaking kidding me? OTW is ready to explode with anger today over a proposed “Sportsmanship” effort by the NCAA and AFCA. That’s right folks, the people in charge have the brilliant idea to have college football teams shake hands BEFORE THE GAME. Quite possibly this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever read. OTW is all for sportsmanship in college football. In fact, OTW’s favorite statue at Doak Campbell Stadium, is the Sportsmanship statue. But, what on earth are the NCAA, AFCA and college football coaches trying to accomplish with this?
Have they watched the footage of the many fantastic pregame incidents over the years? Paging Doug Johnson? Hello? You still missed with that 1998 pregame melee attempt to thump Bobby Bowden in the head with a pass. Sound like a microcosm of your career Doug? Putting players in close quarters like that before a game is begging for a problem bigger than the historic smackdown between the Oregon Duck and the Houston Cougar that continued throughout a game and inspires hatred in both of those teams.
In baseball and hockey, teams shake hands after a hard fought game or series. In boxing, fighters touch gloves before the match (while separated by both corners and a referee). After a fight, many times both fighters hug and show mutual respect for each other, but it’s not required. The POSTgame model is what works. Why? Because teams are too tired to fight, and the issues have been settled on the field. Controlling a crowd of a couple hundred football players with a few referees and coaches is a bad idea.Â Football, more than any other sport, requires a certain “You talked bad about my mom” mentality. These guys offer their bodies for sacrifice each week. Expecting them to put that aside for a few minutes before a game doesn’t work. I’m not even sure that it works after a game with so many players? Can we avoid a fight between UF and FSU players after an upset by the Noles in the swamp with the Marching Chiefs playing the FSU Fight Song in the background? And even though it’s only scheduled for the first week of this season, does anybody really think FSU and Miami can get through a pregame handshake without a problem?
Instead of worrying about a pregame handshake maybe the NCAA and AFCA should worry about:
- Gang signs
- The abuse that is tossed officials’ way
- Dirty play
- Providing each fan with a free hot dog
- Curing cancer and bringing peace to the world
Sportsmanship starts with Mom & Dad. Sportsmanship starts in T-Ball and Pee Wee Football. Meaningful sportsmanship comes from the heart of an athlete that knows he or she gave their best in a particular contest. Sportsmanship cannot be forced, even with an empty symbolic pregame handshake, which is what many coaches do . The NCAA needs to wake up and start dealing with this so-called “problem” through programs that affect student athletes long before they ever see the halls of Florida State, Miami, Florida or any other college.