A feast for football fans all over
My two favorite times of the year, from a sports fan perspective, is the middle of March, with its NCAA basketball tournament, or as it is more popularly called “March Madness,” and the end of December and early January.
If you’re a football fan, late December and early January is a glorious time. Not only do we have NFL playoffs coming up, but more importantly (at least in my opinion) you have a plethora of NCAA bowl games. Some feature the best college football teams in the country, in prestigious bowl games with tradition, pomp and circumstance that goes back over a century.
Other bowl games are rather bewildering and perplexing and have unusual names like the Belk Bowl, the Lending Tree Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Yeah, not every one of these games is a winner, and more than a few tend to be a stinker, and feature plenty of blow outs. You’ll often see some team with one loss and ten future pros play a team from a weaker conference, and see them deliver a double digit shellacking.
But at the end of the day, these bowl games are usually exciting things that feature young men who might never play football again once their college career is over.
I love college football, and I think it’s great because every guy that’s a starter on that field is most likely the best football player to come out of his high school in years, or perhaps ever. His friends and family will watch and cheer him on as his team takes on a team loaded with future professional football players.
And that is when you get a match-up where one of the guys is a future nine time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer, and the other guy is a future litigation attorney. But you see, that’s when the magic happens. Usually the Pro Bowler rushes for a new bowl game record, and announces his greatness.
But sometimes, sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes that future attorney plays greater than the talking heads and socalled experts predicted. Sometimes they play greater than even they expected, and it becomes a moment that inspires a small-town farm kid in Iowa or Wyoming or Montana (or Colby and Abbotsford) to dream bigger than they ever dared to before.
In the end, college sports, despite its flaws — of which there are many — is about the oldest story in the book — the mighty against the few, the underdog against the favorite.
Yes, in sports, Goliath usually defeats David, but it’s those moments where David stands tall under the bright lights where the game becomes bigger than just a game - it becomes a metaphor for life.
The game might only last three hours, but it’s not the time that matters, it’s what happens in that time that matters. Magic is an inconsistent thing, but when it happens it’s special and unforgettable.
A bowl game can remind us that you don’t always need a magic wand to perform a miracle, sometimes all you need is a leather ball. That, and a 6’6”, 300 pound human gorilla to block for you. You can never have enough of those — just as the Wisconsin Badgers!
ROSS PATTERMANN REPORTER M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS