Friday, December 17, 2010

It's only a game

By any reckoning, the title of Horse's-Patootie-Of-The-Week must go to this fellow Sal Alosi, who is the strength and conditioning coach of the New York Jets.  In the Jets game last Sunday with the Miami Dolphins, Miami's rookie Nolan Carroll - a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland - was running back a punt when he suddenly dropped to the ground faster than Sarah Palin's book sale receipts.

He dropped to the ground because Alosi stuck out his leg along the sideline and tripped him.

We often ask ourselves the moral theoretical question of what we would do if we were sure that no one could see us do it.  Mr Alosi must never have heard of YouTube, because he's all over it big time these days.  Click on the link, and after you finish checking out the Nicole Richie wedding videos, you can see Alosi's dastardly deed.

"I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment," Alosi said after the game. "My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for."

Put that down in your list of favorite "excuse-me"s of all time.  At least he did apologize, instead of doing that "if I offended anyone by this, then I am sorry" qualifier that so many of our miscreants go with. 

The famous "12th Man" play
But the thing that bothers me most about this is that Alosi tried to be sneaky and subtle, even knowing that dozens of cameras were following the play into which he inserted himself.  For sheer blatancy of sideline misbehavior, you really have to hand it to Alabama's Dickey Moegle, who, in the 1953 Cotton Bowl tackled Rice running back Tommy Lewis to prevent a long touchdown run from being completed.  Only problem was that Moegle was also a running back and was supposed to be on the bench with the other offensive Crimson Tide players at the time, but he got up off the bench and made that tackle because, as he explained it, "I got too much Alabama in me!"

One wonders if it is indeed possible to have "too much Alabama" in one.

Temper, Woody, Temper.
Then there was Ohio State coach Woody Hayes in the 1978 Gator Bowl, who registered his dislike for Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman's interception of a Buckeye pass by punching Bauman in the chops as the play came to an end.  You've probably seen this before.  The list of people that Coach Hayes hit in the head over the years is very, very long, and one can only suppose, after reading about his various fracases, set-tos, melees, dust-ups, skirmishes and tussles, that Hayes was a wee bit unbalanced.  Cameramen, reporters, his own players, opposing players: they all took it on the melon from this apparently troubled individual.  You can read more here

It seems so important at the time, who wins or loses a game.  But it's not so much a game when grown men go around tripping, tackling or punching their opponents in the name of winning.  People ask me all the time why I enjoy watching or listening to Orioles baseball, when they haven't had a winning season since 1997 and don't seem likely to buck that trend any time soon.  It's the pleasure of the game itself for me that counts...the mental jotto between managers, the determination of the players, the hustle, the effort, the chance to see something you never saw before.  Seeing Buck Showalter run onto the field to trip Derek Jeter as he rounds third and heads for home would chase that joy away from me.

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