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

it.

 

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

thing.

 

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

their minds.

 

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

guns.

 

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

a favor.

 

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

football.

***

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.