In a span of one spring week, concentrated doses of sports pomposity will be sprayed like bad cologne on television sets across the country. Anybody with a passing interest in college basketball, golf or baseball will be besieged with the bigger-than-the-game significance of it all.
I don’t claim to know what’s right for anyone in mourning, but in sports there seems to be only one choice: Play through the pain, with black armbands, helmet stickers, initials inked onto sneakers and moments of silence.
Reports that Dave Duerson had killed himself didn’t make me think of football at first. They stirred up vague recollections about business and family problems. The game’s potential role didn’t register until the chilling detail that he shot himself in the chest, preserving his brain to be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a football side effect.
Among college basketball’s lifer-legends like Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun; among the earnest stewards of regal programs like Roy Williams, Bill Self and Ben Howland; among the slippery, the nomadic and the pugnacious, like John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and Tom Izzo, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey cuts a modest profile.
One of the arguments against a college-football playoff is that it would wreck the bowl system. But the bowls have been ruined since about 1997, give or a take an alliance or coalition.
Hardly anybody dies on the field anymore. After 18 college football players were killed in the 1905 season, Teddy Roosevelt helped resuscitate a sport on a grim slog to the grave. He convened Ivy League leaders and the resulting rules changes saved lives.
Myles Brand had to spell out the finer points of amateurism for me, all but sighing, “Do I have to spell it out for you?” During a 2006 South Bend Tribune interview, we got to talking about Tom Zbikowski ’07 and his NCAA-approved professional boxing debut that summer.
Perfect Rivals: Notre Dame, Miami, and the Battle for the Soul of College Football traces how the nouveau-riche Hurricanes and old-money Irish became antagonists.
When Notre Dame lined up for a last-second field goal against USC in 1986, I couldn’t watch. A second-half comeback built to such a nerve-fraying crescendo that I had to leave the house.
Notre Dame has a new football coach. But getting excited about Brian Kelly may be a perilous thing. Still, it’s hard to resist …
The guys in the first-ever Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp dressed at lockers inside the stadium adorned with their names and jersey numbers. That might have been the coolest part.
HABERKORN 8. COLGAN 5. MOHRHUSEN 45. BAGATTA 56.
That or the way the coaching staff of current Irish assistants and former stars treated them like football players, not just high-rent trespassers who paid $3,590 for the privilege to pretend.…