If every human eventually reaches some sort of tipping point i.e. Michael Douglas in the film “Falling Down,” then the past few days have been it for me. The Big 10 cancelled its season for the Fall of 2020, then backtracked, then cancelled again. The Pac-12 followed suit on Tuesday and even though the SEC is trying to remain steadfast in its attempt to have a season, that effort appears to be futile at best as college football is officially on life support.
The past five months have been unbearable for so many reasons. I was on my way to a Kiss concert in Tulsa when the world basically shut down before our very eyes.
I’ve spent the last eight years building my own sports and entertainment brand with my partner Noah Gronniger. We decided long ago that we were not cut out for societal norms and we found our true calling by doing podcasts, numerous interviews and covering sports at every level.
I was never a wife, kids, picket fence kind of guy. To me, life is about forging your own path and finding your passion and following it to the tenth degree. Through hard work and endless dedication, we’ve been credentialed by the SEC, covered events like NASCAR, college basketball and even covered a Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas.
Following the American dream has been a bit difficult to accomplish when a global pandemic hits just a month after my beloved Chiefs won their first Super Bowl title since 1970. Since then, this country has managed to politicize a virus, destroy small businesses and render our lives barely livable.
I’ve spent the past five months battling depression when I’ve never been depressed a minute of my life prior. I’ve been short and curt with people that I interact with. Literally, what is there to talk about?
I get it, Covid-19 is real and lives have been lost. I sympathize with anyone who has lost a loved one and hail all of those that have been on the front lines dealing with this. What I’ve learned over the past few months is that life without livelihood is no life at all.
I grew up watching college football virtually every day of my life from about the age of 10 on. I sat back and watched programs like Nebraska, Florida State and Alabama achieve glory while wishing my Missouri Tigers would make a horrendous bowl game.
My dream to be involved with sports media began the moment I realized that I was 5’11, slow and lazy and that the NFL would likely not accept my resume. I idolized broadcasters like Tim Brando and Keith Jackson and read every word Jason Whitlock wrote during his time at the Kansas City Star.
I’ve never been a political person, yet somehow 2020 has forced even that burden on me. I have horrifyingly learned that millions of Americans are only capable of viewing the world through the lens of their hatred for a President. Division, squabbling, blame and negativity have ruled the day since March. It’s exhausting.
I’m tired of data charts, Dr. Fauci and partisan politics. I cant handle reading another sentence debating the merits of mask wearing or social distancing. Many sports reporters have turned into full fledged Fox News or MSNBC stand-ins while awaiting the return of sports. I asked Outick’s Jason Whitlock about this in a recent interview and he seemed to agree.
“The whole foundation for broadcasters on radio or TV to talk about is all far-left, anti-america, America is racist. Everything has been written in that light. It’s put broadcasters in a tough spot.” Whitlock stated during the interview.
The Importance Of College Football
College football has been a long-shot for several weeks now. Once student athletes began returning to campus and positive COVID tests promptly shut down workouts across the country, the end result appeared dire. Are there far more important issues than college football being played? Absolutely. The MLB, NBA, NHL and (apparently) the NFL are going to navigate the choppy waters of 2020, meanwhile hundreds of college football players across the country are tweeting #WeWantToPlay in response to the decision making of university presidents.
“I think football is important symbolically to our country.” Former college football coach/ESPN broadcaster Bill Curry recently stated on an episode of our Elite Sports Podcast.
Coach Curry is, indeed, correct. College football is emblematic of America at its best. We spend our Autumn Saturdays driving hours just to drink cheap beer and cheer on 19 year old kids because of the logo on their helmets. No matter race, creed or religion, the colors we wear in the fall symbolize the ultimate congregation of brotherhood and unity.
For many, this is a game that they love and would play for free for as long as the opportunity afforded itself. For some, it’s a way out to escape generations of struggle and to lift their families up for generations to come. But for each and every one of them, it’s a test of their will, life lessons of teamwork, trust and overcoming adversity that will serve them in all future endeavors and in all walks of life.
Some day, somehow, this will all be in the rear view and some level of “normalcy” will return. That I do not doubt. My concern is that the normalcy we return to could be anything but. How will college athletic departments survive a season without football revenue? Will non Power 5 schools have to shut down their athletic departments completely? Could there be a complete paradigm shift in the way college athletics are assembled?
The uncertainty will likely hang over us like a black cloud for quite some time. I don’t have any answers or solutions. The truth is, very few of us do. Right now it’s ok to admit that this really sucks and the effects are possibly far-reaching or irreversible.