Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keeping priorities straight

update and bump - and a tip of the wings to Brian at Memento Moron, for scooping the story and carrying it downfield.

Death threats; how pleasant. Guys, you need to quit acting like University of Hezbollah. You're in school to learn, so learn how to be adults and stop being so frickin' emo about a football game.

Tough losses cause crazy reactions - for example, last Saturday's tough Oregon/Oklahoma football game; in the last 75 seconds Oregon scored two touchdowns and blocked Oklahoma's potential winning field goal try. This involved a couple of controversial calls, and Oklahoma complained to the NCAA, as is their right. However, one's choice of phrase may require toning down:
To describe the lapses in accurate officiating at the Oklahoma-Oregon football game last Saturday as constituting an outrageous injustice is an understatement.

That's university president David Boren in an open letter urging the Big 12 Conference to protest to the Pac-10. (If you publish it on your university web site, it's rather open, no?) As it happens, they had a point about the officiating being substandard. The Pac-10's press release on this is rather well-mannered considering the hyperbole in Boren's missive.

I note, in passing, that a lapse in officiating would render it inaccurate by definition, but passing over that for the moment... "outrageous injustice" is an understatement? It may cost the university some money if they go to a second-tier bowl game or miss their conference championship, but nobody was injured by it, unless you count that one guy who got so mad that he punched his refrigerator, but he was kinda sloshed anyway, and really, he was just mad that the bean dip spilled and played it off later when he came back into the room and heard what happened.

There, see how silly that sounds? Being a former governor and senator, perhaps Mr. Boren is just used to reaching for the stars when contemplating justice. When this is in the news, then I think that outrage over a sports contest is somehow misplaced.

It's entirely possible that young Sam Ashaolu will die. That is an outrage. A lost football game shrinks in the mind after that. Sure, I've shouted ridiculous things in the heat of the game; I've written blog posts fisking columns and critiquing umpires, being one who enjoys a good sport-themed argument. The difference knowing that it's ridiculous, that I can be passionate and still be friends with the other side of the debate at the end. It's much like sport itself in that way. If we invested it with too much meaning, then we'd enjoy it less and all the arguments would have to turn into grudges and genuine enmity.

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