I have always considered myself a loner. In high school, I never fit in with a “group.” In college, I didn’t join a sorority and had a small circle of friends. I’ve always been very comfortable with myself as an individual. The one community I have always felt a part of is the college football world. As a kid, I would rather watch football with my dad than hang out with my peers. My various positions with Miami Football from 2003-2012 further linked me with this fraternity.
This post isn’t about my love for the Miami Hurricanes or “what’s the matter with kids today?” It’s just an observation.
So, my beloved Hurricanes were recently playing a heavily outmatched opponent and were winning handily towards the end of the game. They were about to punch another one in, too. The opponent’s defense then made a nice tackle. The individual who made the play then pointed at the crowd and put his index finger to his lips as to shh the spectators. Huh? Later, another person on the losing team did the “feed me” gesture after a nice defensive stop. What?
When did college football become an individual sport? I’m all for celebrating big plays (I went to The U, after all), but your team is losing! This isn’t the time to celebrate you.
It is my observation that many college athletes no longer have pride in their team. This is just a stopping point on the way to the NFL. Just look at the divas at USC. It is more important to a lot of guys to end up on a highlight reel that to win a championship. So many guys would rather make a big hit than a sound tackle. It’s killing me.
Unfortunately, in our current society, everyone thinks he or she is a celebrity because he has a twitter account (irony: as I write a blog). When fifty-year-old men are following seventeen-year-olds on twitter, no wonder those kids get a big head. For so many kids, their profile on rivals.com is more important than their team. Everybody is desperate for attention and instant gratification.
A very obvious example of this is Johnny Manziel. While he might be a fantastic player, his behavior shows he doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about anyone but himself. It’s all about the celebrity of being “Johnny Football.”
Character and intelligence need to go hand-in-hand with talent. Just look at Kenny Dorsey, my favorite player of ALL TIME (more on him another day). In fact, look at the Hurricanes’ roster in the early 2000s – most of those guys weren’t blue-chippers coming in, but they worked their way up to it. They worked hard as a team. And when the five-stars came in and thought they were bigger than the team, that’s when it fell apart.
The cliche is that there is no “i” in team, but it appears there certainly is a “me.”
Update: USC played Notre Dame in what is each school’s biggest rivalry game of the season. With less than a minute left, USC turned over the ball on downs and was obviously going to lose. A couple of the WRs were chatting and walking off the field with smiles on their faces. Were they making plans for when they got home to LA?
As Keyshawn Johnson says, “C’mon, man.” This is the biggest game of the season and they have smiles on their face after a loss. Their heads should have been in their hands.
QB Cody Kessler said after the game, “It really sucks that we lost, but we gave it a good effort.” He is not worthy to be the leader of that team. Petros Papadakis and “the worst USC team in history” fought harder.