The End of Football Season
February 03, 2004
The biggest story of my football lifetime is LSU's national championship this season. I used to say that if LSU wins the national championship in the Sugar Bowl, that I would give up watching football, since there would be nothing left to hope for. I'm still considering that as the plan for Fall, but for now, let's reflect on this past season.
Three interesting observations:
Being champions is fun. It's not just fun in the immediate celebration, water cooler excitement, rah-rah way that you thing about. Being national champions just makes everything seem a little better. I've had several real conversations at work along these lines:
Me: "What's the matter?"
Co-worker mentions whatever dumb-shit problem is bothering him.
Me: "Well, sure, but hey, we're national champions."
Co-worker (brightening): "Hey, so we are!"
Being champions is lucrative. The amount of crap that you get the opportunity to buy when your team wins the national championship is unreal. Every store has its own collection of DVDs, videos, books, magazines, clothes, auto accessories, and anything else you can imagine to commemorate the season.
This morning, I was behind one of those short busses that the special students had to take to school when we were young. This particular one had been converted to some sort of contractor's vehicle. It was well-dented and full of rust. But, the one new -- and very out of place -- accessory was the bumper sticker telling the world of LSU's national championship.
We even caught people buying large TV sets at Best Buy, just for the game. I'm not sure if that's admirable or just kind of sad.
The one thing that I learned through all of this is that Baton Rouge throws a crappy parade. The "Parade of Champions" was scheduled to celebrate LSU's national championship and Southern University's Black College National Championship. They didn't throw this together a couple of days after the Sugar Bowl. No indeed, they needed a couple of weeks to get this planned.
The jist of the parade was this: some convertibles drive by with officials from each school. Then, the Southern Band marched by. This was followed by a fleet of fire trucks with players sitting around on them. They were segregated by position, so one truck with defensive linemen might pass, followed by a truck with offensive linemen, and so on. The kicker and punter got stuck on the last truck with towel boys and trainers.
Then, the whole band followed by fire truck thing was repeated for LSU players. The kickers seemed no less pathetic.
I really had to hope that either Baton Rouge had borrowed fire trucks from other cities, or that no one's house would alight while the parade was happening. There had to be close to 20 big engines in the parade, and Iï¿½ve got to imagine that this represents a significant portion of our city's fire fighting capacity.
But the real embarrassment is that there was one part of the parade that was supposed to shower the teams in ticker tape. That's what you do when you win the championship, right? Have a ticker tape parade? I'm almost positive I've heard of that.
I did kind of wonder where ticker tape would come from. Certainly, there aren't any stock tickers any more. Would it really be cash register tape? That would make sense. Maybe we could spot the pink dye on the edge that indicates the end of the roll.
No, cash register tape would be too classy for a Baton Rouge parade. Here, they threw -- get ready -- they threw toilet paper. Toilet paper. Honest to God.
And so that takes us to last night's Super Bowl. As you know, it was a good game, but it was hard to care about the outcome. Mom and Sarah were pulling for Carolina, since they are from Charlotte, but New England had more LSU players, and Kevin Faulk even scored a critical two-point conversion toward the end of the game. So either way I'm happy really.
I am a little disappointed that I missed some of the on-air nudity around the half time show. Sarah called while I was in the kitchen to ask if that was really Janet Jackson's nipple that had been exposed.
Sure enough, it was, and I missed it. I'm sure I could find it on the internet, but Janet isn't worth a sleazy internet search.
I also just heard that there was a fat guy who streaked after the musicians played at halftime, and catching him is what took an extra minute to get the second half underway. Man, how drunk would you have to be? And how much money would your buddies have to pony up for a stunt like that? That guy is a real hero. (Oddly, in my mind, this guy probably is worth a sleazy internet search.)
One last Super Bowl story, and I'll wrap this one up: I joined a Super Bowl pool being run by a kid's baseball team. The baseball team took the bets, kept a sizable vigorish (they would have been run out of any respectable gambling community), and then distributed winnings. I didn't mind the high takeout, since it was kids coming up with a creative fun way to support their baseball.
This did get me thinking about it though: why not just continue the fundraising with other organized-crime activities. I'm sure some of the downtown businesses would pay the team "protection" money to keep their windows from getting smashed. For those that won't pay, well, they already have bats. It's a good fit.