College Sports

I have zero interest in college sports but the problem with criticizing them is that the alternative isn’t hanging out at the library or going to a coffe-shop with friends. The alternative is staring stupidly at a screen. At least, at a game they are surrounded by other people, feeling united in a shared emotion.

All these criticisms of college sports fandom or Greek life made sense before smartphones became as ubiquitous as they are now. People need to wake up, notice the transformations brought by the technological revolution, and figure out that sports games and sororities are among the better options.

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4 thoughts on “College Sports”

  1. There are a lot of reasons to oppose football although the games can be fun every once in a while. A lot of the other sports are truly fun and have a lot to recommend them. Students at my place are against our having football because they have to pay for it, and it drives tuition way up, and they don’t have time for the games, and the team isn’t interesting, and if they had the time they would go to football at the school down the road that has a far more interesting team.

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  2. Whatever anybody thinks of football, it’s an indispensable cash cow for many universities. Literally hundreds of alumni at certain schools contribute tax-deductible dollars to their alma mater each year in return for reduced-price (or free) season tickets to the school’s football games.

    At the annual homecoming game, these alumni travel hundreds of miles to see the university football team triumph in its home stadium against a rival college. They simultaneously bring hundreds of dollars to to the local off-campus community, renting motel rooms at temporarily jacked-up prices and eating meals in local restaurants.

    My father and I had at least one thing in common: He loved football and I hated it, but we both watched every game that my junior high, high school, and college team played for ten years straight. I was in the schools’ marching bands all those years, because being in the band got me out of otherwise mandatory physical education classes, and at my land-grant university, got me out of wearing an ROTC uniform and drilling on the field with the ROTC students.

    Being in the band also got me out of a lot of Saturday classes and a lot of free travel to distant games. My college marching band was one of the many (50? — one from each state university?) that marched in Washington in Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural parade. I got to see America’s capitol city, but the main thing I remember is freezing my ass off in the frigid January weather.

    (Sorry to bore you with this nonsense, but at this time of night I’m not sleepy, and don’t have much else to do except sit here at my computer.)

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    1. I love your stories about the olden times, Dreidel.

      This is true only for very successful teams. Insignificant little ones like ours and like the majority are a cash drain.

      But it’s all worth it to get the kids away from screens and into a group activity. These sports games do the work of the utterly useless mental health counseling.

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    2. “football, it’s an indispensable cash cow for many universities”

      Really? Back in the 1980s I read an article (book excerpt) that said that college football was, depending on the university, either a net drain on university finances or their own semi-autonomous economic system only loosely tied to the university. My university was absolutely the latter though the athletic administration also wielded an absurd amount of power over the regular administration, so much so that once the choice of new university president came down to the personal choice of a major donor (who never graduated from said university).

      For all that, college football is the emotional equivalent of European soccer with the same kind of ritualized, collective ,cathartic emotional experience involved (just without the hooligans or riots). The NFL can’t deliver that.

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