Yes, I am a Sooner. No, I do not like Texas. However, due to the impending hurricane, which I hope causes minimal havoc and damage, and to the emotional uncertainty of a certain Texas football player, I cannot turn ESPN or the news on without Texas on the tips of tongues. Most of the time this would not bother me quite as much, but it is college football season, and this is not a time for tea and cake.
For those of you reading this and wondering why Texas would upset me so much as a Sooner, well….Oklahoma, which is located above Texas, is the home to The University of Oklahoma, home of the OU Sooners, Bob Stoops, 7 National Championships,Barry Switzer, #28 Adrian Peterson, and a rich football tradition and legacy that defines the Boomer Sooner spirit. For more stats and facts, check here, and understand why so many sing, “I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred, and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead.”
Now that we are all caught up and bleeding crimson and cream, we can get back to the rant at hand.
I am so tired of seeing, hearing, and seeing all things Texas that I am considering a fast of ESPN, which for me is like most women giving up their subscriptions to Glamour, People, Marie Claire, and other highly informative materials. (As I type, an interview with the Astros’ pitcher, Roy Oswalt, and his speedy pitching due to Ike, scrolls across Sportscenter. Ike, ick). I’m sure it is only a matter of minutes now before there is an update on the other hurricane blowing through Texas; emotional hurricane, Vince Young.
Let me preface any further ranting. I do not hate Texas or anything or anyone associated with the state that arrogantly assumes it is its own country. I simply have a healthy disdain for all things Lone Star state. During the 2005 football season, these feelings extended to include one talented QB, Vince Young. I cannot be faulted here. He was at the helm of OU’s arch-nemesis, The University of Texas. (I gag slightly as I type this.) We’ll fast-forward to the end of the season and the National Championship game: Texas vs. USC. This game is the reason I can speak the name Vince Young without a scowl. He was awesome, and I have to say it, his star shone brightly as heled his Longhorn cohorts triumphantly over the (evil) Trojans. Then came the morning, and the moment passed. I was back to normal and Texas was still terrible. However, my respect of the talent that is Vince Young remained.
I don’t think I was the only one excited to see how Vince would fair in a sport that spits players out as fast as it signs them in. Round 1, #3 pick, Vince didn’t disappoint as he garnered NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year. All was calm, happy, and bright, and Vince Young’s star seemed to be rising to great heights.
So, what happened? That is the million-dollar question. I’m not here to answer it, ponder it, or seek theories. I’ve heard enough from Stuart, Scott, John, and Hannah. I’m here to ask my own question, or to rant about it. Why is the emotional instability of Vince Young such a crisis?
I’m not an insensitive person. I feel for the guy, hate that he’s injured, and know he wants “the cloud to roll away,” but Vince is not the only person to breakdown under the pressure. Now, I know it’s the sports world, but give it a rest. It’s not like it’s Favre is coming out of retirement. Oh, what? He did? Why wasn’t there more coverage?
My rant comes down to this: there are so many people, playing sports, and mere mortals, who are emotionally damaged, drained, and discouraged. Why can’t we care half as much about the person who is hurting right next to us as we do about a young man we’ve never met? Also, we have exalted these sports figures and celebrities to such levels of gods and goddesses that when they show signs of mortality we are so shocked and dismayed we can’t move on until they get fixed and return to their pedestals. Yet, we so easily turn the other way or the channel when we see the child on the 5 o’clock news that has been battered and abused because that is someone else’s problem. Someone is caring, right?
So, even as a Sooner, I can find compassion for a Texan (at least he now resides in another state beginning with a T) and hope he finds the help he needs, and I can be pretty confident in that as there will be people lined up to assist him. But what about all those other people who reach out for help and find only silence and an absence of hope? When will that become all we can talk about, and better yet, reach back?