Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Do you like Kipling? I don't know; I've never Kippled

There was a time when I would have worn the shocked, disheartened, stupefied look you see on the young man at left, just because of how a football or baseball game or presidential election turned out. 

He is a fan of the University of Michigan, probably a student there, and his team (coached by Jim Harbaugh, onetime Raven quarterback and brother of Ravens head coach John) was 10 seconds away from beating archrival Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.  All they needed to ice the victory was to punt the ball away and let the clock run out, but their punter, Australian √©migr√© Blake O'Neill, couldn't handle the low snap of the ball.  Then, instead of just falling on the ball, he tried to get the punt off anyway, and, well, if he had, you never would have heard another word about it all.  But no.  Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson grabbed the loose ball and scooted in for a 38-yard game-winning touchdown as the clock ran out.

And then, things went all crazy
Hey, it's a football game, and things happen. Snaps are poorly snapped, easy passes get dropped, balls get deflated by cheaters. Things don't always go the way we want them to, so the best way is to treat triumph and disaster, those two impostors, pretty much the same. Rudyard Kipling wrote that in his poem "If" and that would be good reading for the Michigan fans who have taken to sending young O'Neill hate-filled emails and death threats over his faux pas.

Yes, it's happening. On Twitter, someone who calls himself @jaaake_f1 recommended that O'Neill should "jump off of a cliff into a pool of spikes and cyanide."  

Sean Kenzel (@SeanKenzel), who probably has never punted in a football game outside of his own back yard, said this:   @blakewoneill I hate you. I. Hate. You.

And then there's Twitterer TheEricTaylor1, who encouraged O'Neill to go to the equipment room and "start chugging that bleach my friend."

"I'm asking that our community not lose this game twice by condoning thoughtless comments," MSU interim athletic director Jim Hackett said in a letter to the school's students and fans.

I am sad to see that there are people in this world who would suggest that another person needs to die for the results of his playing a football game. It's one thing to care for your team and hope they do well, exulting in victory, but it's quite unreasonable to put forth a death wish because someone didn't kick a ball all that well.

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