Opinion » Bill Cope

Endless Halftime

Ix-nay on the ootball-fay

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I was warned by an employee of Boise Weekly that what I'm about to suggest would bring lots of angry letters. I can't remember exactly what I said in reply, but I remember thinking, "Oh dear! We wouldn't want to upset any Boise State Bronco fans, now would we?" And for those football aficionados who missed the sarcasm part ... yes, it's true. I was being sarcastic.

All I ask, dear Bronco fans, is that you hear me out before you stomp off and compose your angry letters. If, after you've heard my proposition and considered it carefully, you're still madder than a Boston defensive end at a Boise dinner speech, go ahead. Write your angry letters and send them in. BW will pass them on, I assure you. And I also assure you I'll do what I usually do with angry letters. Which is: I cut them up into little squares and use the backs for homemade post-it notes.

So here's what I'm suggesting: Do away with the football program. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting Boise State merely de-emphasize the program so that they might direct more energy and attention to the academic aspects of their academia. I'm suggesting they cut it out entirely, like a St. Luke's surgeon would cut out a football-sized tumor growing inside a nerd-sized English major. Cut it out, throw it away, and keep a close eye on the situation to make sure it never comes back again. That's what I'm suggesting.

Think about it, football fans ... what better time? The Broncos had a pretty good run, who can argue with that? Won more than their share of games. Had a charismatic coach you seemed to think was a, like, a hero or something. Had a bunch of you driving around Ada County with teensy blue/orange flags flapping from your car windows. Earned some measure of attention from a few national polls. Even showed up on ESPN a couple of times. Whoopee! Light the bonfire, sis. We gonna hoot it up tonight!

But as any also-ran, crumbling empire or aging human can tell you, there's no glory like past glory. Sure, the Broncos might win another game or two, somewhere out there in the "who gives a damn" future. Or they might not. They might again find a head coach worthy of making dozens of cheesy commercials for local businesses. Or they might not. They might get themselves all the way to another back-of-the-bus bowl game. And they might not. They might even throw a pre-game banquet someday that doesn't turn into an embarrassment for the entire community. But then again, they might not.

All I'm saying is, why take a chance? Wouldn't it be better to brag on and on about what a kick-ass team you had back in the '03, '04 and '05 seasons than to face the distinct possibility that Boise State is, come Monday morning, just another drab urban commuter school that can't even supply sufficient parking to its non-athletic-scholarship students?

Wouldn't it be better to turn the memory of Coach Dan into a larger-than-life bronze statue (situated in whatever open space it is on campus that won't be converted into a parking garage soon), than to search far and wide for another such revered figure, only to have him skip out like a Winnemucca whore as soon as the next best offer comes up?

Wouldn't it be better to go on thinking this magnificent athletic achievement, which you had no part in except to yell a lot, had something to do with a uniquely Idaho spirit (aside from the 75 percent of 2005's roster that come from other states, that is), than expel your precious sweat wondering if enough pampered jocks can be recruited from California junior colleges to put Boise State back in the AP poll?

And consider this: If Boise didn't even have a football team, let alone a football team that made it to a bowl game, surely then you could throw a banquet everyone could be proud of.

Not that I'm blaming MPC jokester Mike Adkins for his insensitivity or Mayor Beiter for his home-town enthusiasm. They were only doing what football fans everywhere do--i.e., make fools of themselves. We can be thankful, I guess, they didn't paint their naked chests with Boise State colors and run around in the cold outdoors grunting, "Brawn! Kos! Brawn! Kos!" for the benefit of the Boston team.

Nope, the real problem at the MPC Banquet was that people from back in Massachusetts are just as silly about a silly damn game as silly people in Boise are about their own mercenary squad of tribal warfare surrogates. What's more, it seems neither gaggle of fans was prepared for the other gaggle's level of obsessiveness. Hence, we end up with this cross-country food fight where Boston fans are accusing Boise of being a podunk pretender, and Boise fans are accusing Boston fans of being big crybabies. And neither of them have even considered the likelihood that they're both right.

The deal is, you never see that sort of thing in Pasadena, do you? You know, Pasadena? Where they have the Rose Bowl? And that's precisely because Pasadena doesn't ever have a dog in the fight, so they can throw a decent pre-bowl game banquet without the danger of everyone involved turning into jerks. We could do the same here, see? But only if we get rid of the local football team.

There. I said it. Now fire up those angry letters if you must and send 'em in. I'm running short of post-it notes.

But first, I want to assure you that me being a U of I alum has absolutely nothing to do with my conviction that Boise would be better off without a football team. I am also convinced Moscow would be better off without a football team, and so would Pocatello. In fact, I doubt there's a college town in America that wouldn't be better off without their football team.

Sure, there would be less money to go around. But I believe the loss of revenue would be offset by the thousands of fans who--instead of spending all fall hooting, swilling chili at tailgate parties and high-fiving one another for things other people accomplish--might actually get off their butts and accomplish something themselves. Gimmee a high-five on that, bro! Woo-rah!

And it's not like there won't still be some football around. Those high-school players, for instance. If anyone deserves attention for participating in a childish extracurricular activity, it's children. And if rooting for the home kids isn't enough rooting for you, there will always be the pros. Go Niners! Packers! Whatever!

After all, if living vicariously through the efforts of others is what makes your time clock run out, why not go with the best?

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