SPORTS: Reflections on Fall 2009

Written by William Sutton on . Posted in Sports

The holidays are here! After we carve our turkeys and get a heaping side of football on Thursday, it will only be a few short weeks until finals and then Christmas and New Year’s. I am certain that we are all looking forward to the family feasts and free time that await us. But as winter descends and we prepare to dive into 2010 and all the madness that it will bring — like people saying “0-10/oh-ten” when they don’t mean to, as if 10 were a single digit number — I’d like to take a look back at some of the memorable figures, moments and trends from an entertaining fall.

Michael Vick — Remember when the Eagles signed him after his nearly two-year prison stint on dog fighting charges? Sports fans were anxious to see if Vick, formerly the most electrifying player in the NFL, could reestablish himself among the league’s elite. He has overwhelmingly failed to do so. However, I submit that his comeback has not been fruitless.

It did give me the chance to hear reports about Vick’s work with Philadelphia high schools in concert with animal rights groups “to reach young people” and be a “voice against organized animal fighting.” I’m sorry, but that is just hilarious. I have been out of high school for a while, but I feel pretty confident in saying that, on the list of delinquent activities for 14-18-year-old teens, dog fighting ranks pretty low. It just wasn’t a big thing at my school. I know these animal rights people are forcing Vick into this and the peer pressure talk is good, but if you want to help kids, maybe you should just stick with “don’t do drugs.”

BYU Football (and fans) — Like any good team in sports (especially collegiate sports), BYU’s football team wants their fans to feel like part of their success. I think I can say that, by and large, they do. After all, who wasn’t dancing in the streets after BYU beat Oklahoma in the season opener? In fact, I think I would have to thank the fans even a bit more than the team for getting our hopes up so ridiculously high that we thought we were a top five team — only to have them come crashing down the second we play any team with a mobile quarterback. How many years in a row do we have to do this?

Here is the basic pattern: 1) Pre-season hype, looking pretty solid, selling quite a few t-shirts; 2) “Huge win” (sliding past what proved to be an overrated Oklahoma squad or obliterating what proved to be an overrated 2008 UCLA team) that results in a huge jump in the rankings, ginormous spikes in t-shirt sales, and a ton of people who want to sell their home game tickets for hundreds of dollars on Craigslist; 3) Epic beat down that makes everyone feel like our team is a failure even though we will probably finish with a very admirable record and ranked in the Top 25 with another trip to the Vegas Bowl, which, I might add, is usually reserved for the conference champ. It’s a ridiculous pattern, people. Let’s be realistic and positive in supporting our team. We may not be as good as we thought we were, but we aren’t as bad as we sometimes think either.

Kanye West — I can’t believe what a big deal everyone made of the whole Kanye-Taylor Swift incident. This was one the funniest things I can remember. Not so much the incident itself, but the huge media freak-out that occurred right after. Sure, Kanye is a jerk, but didn’t we already know that? It’s not like this was the first temper tantrum he had thrown at an awards show. Also, it’s freaking MTV! Isn’t this the type of thing they live for over there? Kanye’s little outburst was the only way the show was going to attract any attention from anyone outside of the “depressed, suburban high school kid” demographic anyway. And though he acted like an intoxicated idiot, I actually like him better now than I did before.

Let me explain. All the celebrities who wrote on their websites about him — Pink (wait, I mean P!NK), Katy Perry, etc. — made it sound like he punched Taylor Swift in the face. He didn’t. He just said what he really believed. Yes, he did so in an incredibly rude manner, but in an industry that is built on false images, “Ye” didn’t seem too concerned with anything but telling the truth. Isn’t that, at least in some way, a bit admirable? I think so.

Kanye obviously has his fair share of character flaws, but what often makes others so mad also makes him lovable. He is a total loose cannon. So even though he is making bank off of you and me, I feel like I can at least glimpse the person he is and see that he kind of secretly hates the record industry and just wants to be himself. And to me, that is comforting. In Mr. West’s own words “y’all feel some way about K but at least y’all feel something.” In any event, this can, at its worst, only be the second most frightening unexpected mic grab in MTV Video Music Awards history. This is much more painful.

BYU Basketball commercial — Anyone who watches ESPN knows what I am taking about. BYU basketball bought a bunch of advertising space and has incessantly run one ad for the team all fall. It’s just music and highlights. You know, the one with the huge bass line that you can hear no matter where you are in your apartment? Anyway, I was just wondering if I was the only one who noticed that not even all the highlights are actual highlights. The last clip in the commercial is Charles Abouo rejecting a shot in last season’s contest against Wake Forest — or is it?

If you actually pay attention to the commercial, it’s really Charles Abouo committing a foul in last season’s contest against Wake Forest. You see him jump up and knock the shot away — but you also see play stop and the official walk over to the scorekeeper and indicate a huge hack on number one. I am undecided on what this means for our basketball team. But hey, regardless of the call, at least we know we will lose in the first round of NCAA Tournament! (That’s a joke. I hope.)

William Sutton would like to express his seasonally appropriate gratitude to all of the poorly thought-out decisions of others that made this column possible. He is a sports and culture correspondent for Rhombus.

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