Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Crying Time Again

I love football: I don't care who's playing, from some high school all-star game on cable to the NFL, it's all good for me. College football has a certain special quality about it, since, hypothetically, no one is getting paid and so you've got guys out there busting hump for the love of the game (and, all right, for a chance at a fat NFL contract down the line, but still...) College football gives you the pageantry and the hoopla. Pro teams have their bands and cheerleaders, except for the Steelers, and still they don't have anything to compete with seeing a Florida State kid dressed in Seminole warrior gear riding a pinto pony out to the 50-yard-line and planting a burning spear in the ground. Or a member of the Ohio State marching band being selected to dot the I.

But the other night, after watching Alabama take the SouthEast Conference title game at the expense of heavily-favored Florida, I was nonplussed at the sight of Tim Tebow's tears.

Look, son, we've all wanted things that eluded our grasp. "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp - or what's a heaven for?," said Robert "Bobby B" Browning, who would have been a pretty fair wide receiver for London College a couple of centuries ago, had football been invented at the time. But, Tim, really. You lost a football game. Does this call for crying?

I recall a pro basketball player being asked if it was a pressure situation to have a game come down to him making a shot or not. The ballplayer replied that a single mom trying to feed, clothe and house a family was pressure, not a basketball game. Same with Tebow, for my money. Yes he had a pretty good college career and has been mentioned as a likely Heisman Trophy contender, although there are many who claim that he lacks the skills to be effective in the NFL. I leave predictions to the prognosticators, but I recommend to young Tebow that he spend a little time out in the real real world this summer before he tries to lift the fortunes of whichever hapless franchise drafts him to be their savior. Life is filled with victories and loss, and let's turn again to a great English poet whose works must have been read in countless Poetry Appreciation classes down in Florida - this is Rudyard Kipling, from "If":

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same'll be a Man, my son!

I have known some people who didn't start to triumph until they had a chance to deal with disaster. Best advice I can offer anyone is to learn from mistakes and move on confidently. And cry over lost love or departed loved ones or sad events or a kid who'll never have a chance to walk proudly or any way at all. But a football game? Nah.

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