Football season is upon us once again. And once again, most women and
those few, secretive men who don't care for sports, have to live
through another 6 full months of "the game." I have been plagued by
football all my life, and to be honest, I'm getting a little sick of
When I was a little girl, I thought that football players were really
built like that. I thought they had huge shoulders and really rounded
butts. I wondered why I never saw any men on the street who looked
like football players. When I found out my dad had played football in
college, I thought he was lying to me.
I learned the rules of football in high school. I was a pompon girl
and had to know when the quarter ended, so I figured I might as well
learn just exactly what "First and ten, do it again!" really meant.
When I was a senior, I unfortunately attracted the attention of
soon-to-be-professional, Bob Bruenig (Dallas def. line) .
He would yell at me across the cafeteria, "Hey, Tarla, when're you
going to go out with me?" My reply was always, "Ten minutes after hell
freezes over, Musclehead." I hear through the grapevine, that he and
his wife are Mr. and Mrs. Dallas society, now. But no amount of Dallas
social life will erase my memories of him as the guy who ate a live
cockroach just to prove he was a macho football player.
Eventually I moved to Oklahoma...a state without a single major league
professional sports team. I didn't understand when I moved here that
we don't need professional sports, we have OU.
At OU, football is life. Everyone knows who the players are. Everyone
knows who the coaching staff is. I attended OU during the worst
football period of current times....a national championship. And it is
with no small amount of vanity that I claim a part of that victory;
for it was I, struggling quietly behind the scenes that was truly
responsible for the '85 National Championships and I'm a little pissed
that I didn't at least get a ring out of it.
You see, I was a graduate teaching assistant in Anthropology the
semester that they put 13 football players in Intro to Anthro at the
same time. Troy Aikman was one of them. You may recall the name, he
does truck commercials these days.
Yes, I was the lucky person who got 13 football players in a class
which required reading and writing. I had a boy from Idaho that didn't
know what a paragraph was. I had another one ask me how long it would
take to drive from Oklahoma to Olduvai Gorge. I told him that it would
take a couple of days to get to Florida, then you had to stop. He
asked why? I told him that the ocean seemed to have an unfortunate
effect on motor vehicles. He looked puzzled, then I discovered that
out of the 13 guys sitting in front of me in the locker room (where I
tutored them at night 3 times a week), 7 of them had no clue what the
world looked like on a flat map. A college education is a wonderful
I flayed those puppies. I showed no mercy. Barry Switzer may have
owned their bodies on the field, but at night, by Leakey, I owned
The result of my efforts? Well out of thirteen students, 12 passed the
class and remained qualified for the post season. So, I watched the
championship game. I watched my boys, dumb as posts, go out there and
ruin someone else's day. And I cheered them on, knowing that even as
they were kneeing someone's groin, or coathangering with love, that
they were secure in their knowlege of Austrolopithicenes, and Native
American survival strategies. I was proud, just knowing that with
every strained muscle, and hematoma, that MY boys could spew the
cranial capacity of Homo Erectus, or describe a Mousterian tool.
And a couple of years later...when the boy who asked how long it would
take to drive to Olduvai got signed on by the New England Patriots for
an obscene amount of money, I was just hoping that once, just once a
college education would count for something, and that before he could
sign the contract, before they'd turn over that incredible amount of
annual salary, that just one of them would ask, "Can you recite
Maslow's hierarchy of needs?"
For someone who's been around football and football players as much as
I have, you'd think I'd like it more. But I swear, I see football
players not so much in terms of ability on the field, as I do ability
in real life. And on that field, they fail miserably.
Brian Bosworth was a great example. Boz could defend a line until
they killed him. He LOVED getting in there and sacking a QB. But the
bastard never tipped! He seemed to think that Norman owed him a meal
because he brought us such fame. In his book, he wrote of an incident
that occurred in a local restaurant. I worked in that restaurant, and
just happened to be the team's waitress on the night in question.
(Actually I was always their waitress, because no one else could
handle their crap but me). Every Wednesday, the defensive line would
come to Garfield's for 2for1 Coors lights. There were about 15 of them
every week, and after two or three waitresses had taken them and ended
up in tears. I took a shot. I took no shit, and that settled that.
They behaved themselves for the most part after I started, but on the
night in question, they stayed past closing and whipped out....water
For about an hour after closing, about half a dozen of them played,
"Ramboz." Bosworth claimed that they refilled the guns with urine and
were squirting them all over the place, but he lied. I remember
filling the guns at the bar with water and nothing more. No one went
into the bathrooms. Bosworth just wanted to make a story sound more
radical than it was. He never told stories where he ended up looking
like the ass, though. He didn't tell about when I brought him his 2nd
2for1 one night, and he started whining about how he hadn't gotten the
first one. I said, "Brian, I'm sorry if one of your friends took your
beer, but I brought it."
He protested loudly, "I got screwed!"
I looked at him and answered, "That's funny, 'cause I didn't feel a
thing." Then I walked away, as they laughed his ass into the floor.
Great football player, lousy human being.
Here's the REAL CON in college sports. It's not so much that
advertisers and promoters have created a "need" for something which in
fact, contributes very little to the improvement of society. It's how
they treat the athletes themselves. They are, for the most part, just
nice boys with huge bodies, and raging hormones. They get suckered by
"the dream." They get a college scholarship, and bust their asses for
4-5 years to make the team, get a shot at the bigs, be a star. But the
schools don't CARE if they graduate. They don't care if they are
turning out illiterates. They don't care if they use a boy up, destroy
him physically, then turn him out onto the streets without even a
worthless degree to his name. They continue to reap the profits. They
continue to get the crowds, and the support of alumni. They don't care
that less than 10% of college athletes ever make it into professional
sports or that a sports career is exceptionally short, and that these
kids will have NOTHING to fall back on when they are used up and cast
aside. As long as there are people willing to paint their faces red
and white, there'll be sports exploitation. As long as football fills
the coffers, they will use athletes and tell them they are doing them
Yes, it's football season again, and once again, I will have to endure
the looks of disbelief when I am forced to admit that, in fact, I have
never been to an OU football game. That's right, a double alum, and
I've never seen a complete game. It's not just the fact that almost
every season since I've been in Norman, I've either managed or
waitressed every game day (that alone should have gotten me a
championship ring). It's not just that this is the town where old
football players come to die (but first they sell cars!) so I've seen
more pathetic ex-jocks than you can shake a steroid filled needle at,
and truthfully it's not even that I can't bear the thought of having
to climb up through the masses of red and white bedecked fanatics,
drooling all over the stadium seats. It's simply that...I hate
Reverend Mutha Tarla Star of the Little Sisters of the Perpetually
Juicy; a Proud jism schism of the Church of the SubGenius.
Worshipping Juicy Retardo and "Connie" Dobbs since 1986.