Saturday, December 3, 2011

While I Was Taking Those Old Records Off The Shelf....

I do not pretend to know whether it means something or nothing at all but a quick look at the sports page this morning revealed that Tiger Woods was atop the leader board in whatever golf tournament he is playing in this weekend. You can fit all I know about golf into a thimble with adequate space remaining available for a thumb but even I know that once upon a lifetime ago Mr. Woods was universally considered to be the best golfer in the world. And that it has been quite some time since the third round of a tournament began with him playing in the day's final grouping. Whether it is because people shall root against him or because people shall root for him, the people who make money from televising golf are thrilled to have Tiger back. Even if just for today.

Last night at Met Life Stadium (because "F***ing You Out of Your Money Without the Courtesy of Foreplay or the Pretense of Cuddling Afterwards" Stadium proved impossible to fit on the marquee) Don Bosco Prep played its arch-rival Bergen Catholic for the Non-Public Group 4 State Championship in high school football. Don Bosco Prep is ranked nationally (another great faux industry from where I sit is the national ranking of high school teams in various sports) either #1 or #2 and - as expected - defeated Bergen Catholic (and did so quite handily 42-14) to win its sixth consecutive state title. I cannot help but wonder though who schedules these games to be played at a stadium that holds more than 78,000 when yet again last night the joint was only filled to approximately 20% capacity. Nothing says playoff intensity quite as much as playing a game in front of thousands of fans all dressed alike....as empty seats. Ridiculous.

While poking the sacred cow that is high school football, why not go in whole hog? Parenthetically did anyone notice the sloppy mixing of animal metaphors in the preceding sentence? I hope so. It was quite deliberate. This weekend (today I think) the Wayne Hills football team will battle Old Tappan for one of the State of Concrete Gardens' 917 "Sectional" State Championships for which our public school football teams compete. There are more teenage boys walking around in New Jersey wearing a varsity jacket identifying each as a member of a "Sectional State Champion" in high school football then there are people related by both blood and marriage at the annual Polygamy Convention in Salt Lake City. It is beyond ridiculous.

Anyway, Wayne Hills will be short nine players for its championship game. Apparently in late October these kids were involved in an altercation either at or after a party with some kids from The Township of Wayne's other high school, Wayne Valley. Published reports stated that due to the altercation, the two Wayne Valley kids were left beaten pretty badly. Apparently in Wayne the relationship between the two schools is something akin to the Sharks and the Jets of West Side Story....although being suburban New Jersey the rumbles inevitably occur at a shopping center that delineates the boundary lines for each faction's turf. The police arrested the nine boys from Wayne Hills and charged all of them for their role in this assault.

A lot of ink and video has been expended the past several weeks here in Joisey as to the goings-on in Wayne. Most of it has addressed the somewhat embarrassing lengths to which the head football coach/athletic director at Wayne Hills and the parents of his football players went in an effort to first intimidate the Wayne Board of Education (which does after all serve the residents of the Township who send their children to either high school) into letting the kids play in the team's State playoff games. The efforts were successful initially, until the Board of Education members realized their testicles had fully descended. Thereafter, once the Board of Education suspended all nine kids from playing football, the equally dubious lengths to which the parents went through the legal system in an effort to overturn the Board of Education's decision to ban them from this weekend's championship game against Old Tappan. Yesterday afternoon, the State Commissioner of Education upheld an Administrative Law Judge's ruling that the kids could not play.

Wayne Hills is not the only school participating in this weekend's football finals that shall be at less than full strength due to disciplinary issues. Matawan plays Rumson this afternoon at Rutgers Stadium for the (write this down because it is a bit of a mouthful) "Central Jersey, Group 2" Sectional State Championship. Five of Matawan's players are not playing today, having been suspended from the team by their head coach who is also the school's athletic director. In Matawan, the "OCCUPY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION" moment that is all the rage in up in certain community in Passaic County has apparently not trickled down the Parkway to Monmouth County. Matawan clearly has a better fundamental understanding of the concept of there being a consequence assoiciated with each and every action than Wayne Hills does.

The only people in these two "Mr. Touchdown" melodramas for whom I feel badly are the kids on the Wayne Hills team and on the Matawan team who had no role in either incident that resulted in certain of their teammates being sidelined. For a number of these kids, high school will mark the end of their formal, organized participation in sports, including of course members of each school's senior class. For those kids, who presumably worked as hard as the players who are not permitted to play did to reach this point, the selfishness of their teammates could cost them. Is that fair? It matters not. It is Life.

Final idle thought of the day from me is how great it must have been to be at MSG on Thursday night for the Bob Seger show and get, as an unexpected pre-Christmas present, a special guest shot of Bruce Juice. Old Time Rock and Roll indeed.

-AK

No comments: