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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's Just a Damn Game!

How sad is this: University of Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson had to be guarded by a state trooper during a Husker home game last November following what authorities considered a credible threat made against him and his family.

This came on the heels of some idiot, Ben Schwartz, writing a column in the North Platte Bulletin, a weekly newspaper in Pederson's hometown, in which Schwartz wrote, "Tell me it's wrong to call up Steve Pederson's house at three in the morning, breathe heavily into the phone and then whisper, 'I'm going to kill your children,'" after Nebraska lost its third straight game, 40-15 to Kansas.

This incident absolutely disgusts me on so many levels, I'm not exactly sure where to begin. Let me start with the editor of the North Platte Bulletin, Laura Johnston. In the initial article I read about this incident, Johnston said about Schwartz, who has written a periodic column for the Bulletin since it was launched in 2003, “Ben’s columns have always been provocative. He writes about local and cultural events that are important to young people. He’s known for his irreverence. I got the joke. Apparently others didn’t.”

Are you serious? The "joke?!" "Joking" about killing someone's children is never ever funny. Period. Ms. Johnston should be fired immediately. If the editor of a newspaper doesn't have enough common sense to edit this sort of thing, what on earth is the point of having an editor? This sort of garbage wouldn't pass muster for a school newspaper, let alone a "real" paper (yes, even the North Platte Bulletin). She should be ashamed of herself.

Second, and most importantly, if someone, some "fan," was "inspired" by this hack's column to threaten a man and his family over a football game, that saddens me beyond measure. No, it angers me. Because there is no excuse for something like that. And it tarnishes the sport I love.

Hey, I'm a huge college football nut. I scream at the TV, bitch about the refs (see post below) and own more maize and blue clothing than someone not still attending Michigan should. Hell, I started a damn blog to opine about my passion, for cryin' out loud. But as worked up as I get, I never lose sight of the fact that it's just a game. Yes, it's my favorite to watch and, to me, there's nothing more enjoyable than college football Saturdays each fall. Yet, when all is said and done, whether my, your and anyone's team wins or loses won't change one damn thing of importance in the world. Did your team beat its big rival on the last play of the game? Gas prices are still through the roof. Did your squad get blown out in its bowl game? Many Katrina victims still can't go home. You say your school won the National Championship? Good for you. Still a war going on in Iraq. As big or important as it was, a college football game has no effect on any of the really big or important things.

In many ways, I think that's why we watch, we cheer, we care. Because for a few hours each Saturday, we get to forget the real problems of the world, of our lives, to enjoy the magic that is college football. It's a chance to be kids again, really. To lose ourselves in the simple joy of a game.

The world has enough problems without the outcome of a college football contest adding more. So if you're someone who gets so worked up about a football game that you threaten a man's family, you're not a fan. You're a loser, a punk and a thug. And an idiot.

Because it's just a game.

Memo to Buckeyes (except DBuck): The loser/punk/thug/idiot moniker also applies to spitting on the opposing band, throwing objects of any sort at the other team's supporters and the breaking of car windows driven by non-OSU folks. Just a reminder.


surrounded in columbus said...


Anonymous said...

Very well written. I agree 100% that the writer's poor taste was only exceeded by the editor's poor judgement. Both should be banned.

The King said...

I think threatening to kill someone's children is funny.

After all, you can't spell manslaughter without LAUGHTER.

Yost said...

You're a sick bastard, Loef.

And thanks for the compliment re: the writing, Anon.