Furious Friday: Royalty, Raging Rivalries & Recruiting

Are we tired of hearing about Peyton Manning?

I certainly am.

The King of Super Bowl Media Week has morphed into Brett Favre before our very eyes. You’d think they guy stopped funding for breast cancer research or something of little consequence like that.

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Sports fans here in Hoopsylvania pride themselves on the intensity of the Cats vs. Cards rivalry.

Of course, they are pipe dreaming, the reference to Howard Schnellenberger, former UK player, former U of L coach, fueler of the flames, more than coincidental.

Those who know the name Harvey Updyke know that no matter how virulent matters might get in the Commonwealth, it’s but child’s play compared to Auburn vs. Alabama on the gridiron. Updyke’s the guy with over 50 Crimson Tide ballcaps, who poisoned the oaks at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner. Then was Celeb du Jour on Bourbon Street before Bama whupped up on LSU in the BCS “title” game. Seems all the houndstooth-wearing, Saban acolytes wanted their picture taken with the staunchest of Tide acolytes.

Well, kids, truth be told, Americans are pikers when it comes to expressing their allegiance to their favorite teams.

Futbol fans around the globe, now that’s another level altogether.

There was the soccer player in Colombia who, a few years back, was shot and killed in a bar after scoring an own goal, a game-losing goal, in an important match. (Own goal is the odd terminology used when a soccer player inadvertently scores one for the opposition.) At lunch the other day, a pal described a South American stadium with a moat around the field to protect the players from overzealous fans, and barbed wire-enclosed, covered area for visiting fans to sit. In Britain’s Premier League, fans do NOT intermingle in the stadium, with police at the end of each row in the aisles, separating the fans.

Which brings us to that tragedy in Egypt the other day.

Seems home-standing Al-Masry upset highly-touted favorite Al-Ahly, 3-1. In celebration, fans stormed the field — literally — chasing the visitors (team and fans) out of the stadium with stones, sticks and anything else of heft they could find. 79 people died.

I’m pretty sure a fellow in red wandering into Big Blue Country — may it rest in peace — during the annual Feathers vs. Fur battle would have been treated with a modicum more deference. At least I hope the brickbats would only be verbal.

I understand the psychology of rabid fandom. Allegiance to a diversionary cause. Escape from the realities of day to day life. Camaraderie. Twitter talk. But too much is too much.

I’d suggest that what happened in Egypt has been fostered by the political and social turmoil in that country for the last little while. Then again, those futbol fans don’t need anything to get riled up over a match.

It’s only a game, gang, only a game.

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Local football star Anthony Wales is, as they usually say, taking his talents to play for Willie Taggert at Western Kentucky.

Just a few weeks ago, he declared his undying allegiance to U of L, saying he wanted to be “the face of the program.”

Then decried that Louisville’s coaches didn’t give him enough love after his “commitment.”

Of course, he’s just a kid. I don’t recall that I made a whole lot of wise decisions when I was his age, including where I fist matriculated at college. But the word is U of L gave him an offer and a deadline when they needed to know if he was coming or not, so they could move on if he chose elsewhere. It is said he took more time than asked.

So U of L moved on. And Wales was forced to do the same.

Which, one man’s perspective, means that the kid got a very important, real life lesson. College football is big business, a lot of the time unfair. There’s always another entity with more power.

It’s a shame. I’d like to see more quality local kids playing for the Cardinals. But this stuff happens.

– Seedy K

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