Tuesday, December 1, 2009

for bobby.

I owe three men for my love and appreciation of sports: my father, my brother, and Bobby Bowden.

As a freshman at Faulkner University, I wowed my male counterparts with my knowledge of first downs and touchdowns; I proudly wore my garnet and gold in a land of rolling tides and conquering plainsmen. I got some odd looks, some pats on the back. Girls looked at me with blank, uncomprehending stares.

I remember Saturdays when I would fight for my right to the lobby television so I could watch my beloved Noles battle it out on the big screen. My husband’s first trip home to meet my parents consisted of tailgating and Chief Osceola. I was so proud to introduce this Alabama boy (and ardent Auburn fan) to Seminole country.

My father and brother are a huge part of that pride. Thanks to them, I’m no poser. I have a pretty good understanding of collegiate sports; I fill out brackets and call plays. Most Saturdays, I’d rather plop down in front of the TV with a plate of hot wings than go shopping.

I wonder, though, if some of my passion for athletics—and for the Florida State Seminoles—can be attributed to an 80-year-old man named Bobby.

I refuse to place a human being on a pedestal where only God belongs (i.e., Tim Tebow and Bear Bryant). But if there’s a man in the world of sports who deserves my respect and admiration, it’s got to be Bobby Bowden.

Has FSU struggled for the past five or so years?


As a fan, have I been disappointed?


Does Bobby Bowden deserve to be treated like Charlie Weis?

I’m not so sure.

For 34 years, Bowden has led the Seminoles to two national championships and 14 top five finishes. His coaching has helped to produce the likes of Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, and Warrick Dunn.

On top of all that, he’s just a classy guy.

I never had to worry about Bowden throwing his headset to the ground and cursing out a player. Never had to get nervous during post-game interviews. Bowden just always tells it like it is (with a few “dadgummits” thrown in for good measure), and he does it with class.

At 80 years old, I think he deserves a classy goodbye.

It doesn’t look like he’s going to get it.

For the past few months, the Seminole nation has been in turmoil. Over-zealous trustees opened their big (wealthy) mouths, and all you-know-what broke loose.

In the meantime, two Saturdays ago, I stood in the stands at Doak Campbell and said goodbye to another college football legend, Mickey Andrews. I watched a video montage salute his accomplishments, observed former players present him with a new truck, saw his wife and family give him kisses and tears.

It was touching, and I’ve got to think: doesn’t Bobby at least deserve that?

Should he be permitted to coach one last year? I really don’t know. I feel for Jimbo Fisher, for the players who have had to compete amid disorder and confusion.

But I also feel for the 80-year-old man who has made coaching kids his life’s work.

And I think he deserves my respectful goodbye.


Anonymous said...

Preach on sista. Well said.

Brooke Bailey said...

you hit nail on the head annie. go noles!

Jordan Jones said...

I am glad you know your football stuff and are not a poser. :)