TELANDER: Literally sick of Boise State’s turf
BY RICK TELANDER email@example.com | @RickTelander September 14, 2013 2:04AM
Boise State receiver Kirby Moore (left) tries to dodge Air Force defensive back Christian Spears on Friday night on a carpet of brain-numbing blue. | Otto Kitsinger/AP
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:33AM
I have never turned off a college football game because of the condition of a field. Until Friday night.
I tried to watch the Air Force at Boise State game on ESPN, but the blue-vomit color of the fake turf started to affect me in an unpleasant way. I actually felt queasy.
I know the field is ‘‘different’’ and ‘‘crazy,’’ and those things are to an 18-year-old awash in testosterone as deer guts and salmon are to a grizzly. But the novelty’s gone, in my opinion. What’s left is hallucination. If God wanted us to have blue grass, he would have made our money that color, too.
Lose it, Broncos!
◆ ANYBODY SEE TIM TEBOW?
Should we hold a prayer circle for him? I can’t help it, but I have this image in my brain of him frozen somewhere remote, on one knee, head in hand, ‘‘Tebowing’’ for eternity, like a new Easter Island totem, waiting for a kickoff that never comes.
Is that wrong?
◆ WAIT A MINUTE. Sports lllustrated is reporting in its continuing evisceration of the Oklahoma State football program that female hostesses at OSU had sex with recruits?
Yep, allegedly, hot ladies from the Orange Pride crew, the group that showed recruits around campus in Stillwater, offered up sexual favors to a number of young’ns. We’re guessing for free. Don’t believe they were pros. Though you never know.
Now, when I was recruited many years ago by a big-time just-north-of-Chicago-private-Big-Ten-school — shhh . . . Northwestern — my hostess was a guy named Buzz, a walk-on pre-med fellow who never played and who showed me the library and some other buildings and the filthy bed I would sleep in at Sargent Hall. (I think it was somebody’s roommate’s bed, a guy who went home for the weekend or whatever, but it was disgusting.)
So, anyway, there were no chicks involved except for some hotties at a frat party — coquettish, mature women who looked upon me as little more than amusing vermin. All of them were with football players or hotshot guys in penny loafers and sweaters, some of those dudes having Corvettes in the parking lot.
There were no come-ons for this recruit, in other words — nothing sexually enticing that would have prevented this skinny DB from going to Illinois or Michigan or Nebraska or even Oklahoma State, had any of those schools wanted me. But I learned a lot on the trip.
I already knew about college escorts and the sexual possibilities for high school studs. There was nothing new there. What was new was the certain and abrupt knowledge, based on experience and logic, that I, young lad from down by the Illinois River, was not a stud.
◆ I WATCHED A DOCUMENTARY, ‘‘The United States of Football,’’ the other night. The film by director Sean Pamphilon is a scorching indictment of bad youth coaches, pagan worship of big hits and victory, gratuitous violence, the NFL and — because there is nowhere else to turn — the game itself.
Yet there is within the film the reluctant ambivalence that pervades all treatises on this great American game — ones that are informed, anyway. The ambivalence was there in Steve James excellent ‘‘Head Games.’’ It is there in even the most damaged players’ statements about why they played the game: ‘‘Because I love it.’’
Pamphilon shows us an old, drooling, brain-damaged former player near death, and he shows us a high school player who chooses to play even though his Pittsburgh Steeler dad committed suicide apparently because of football-related head trauma. It’s a tangled web, for sure. Because ‘‘safe football’’ might be an oxymoron.
◆ AFTER THE FILM, former Bears Gale Sayers, Emery Moorehead, Dennis McKinnon, and Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy gave short speeches and answered questions from the small crowd.
Hall of Famer Sayers spoke mostly about his knee injuries, saying at one point, ‘‘I was a pretty good player,’’ getting a few chuckles.
Levy was most disturbed by what New Orleans Saints defensive coach Gregg Williams is caught saying on tape — that he wants his players to attack the heads of opponents, to try to damage a player who is coming back from a concussion, and to go after knees, as well.
‘‘That really bothered me,’’ said Levy, who took the Buffalo Bills to four Super Bowls, as we exited the theater. ‘‘I never would have allowed that. I once fired a coach who was teaching stuff like that.’’
And so the dilemma continues. Wondrous game or dark abyss?