100 Meter Freestyle and Strangle a Guy
Jerry Seinfeld does a bit about the Olympics that is pretty good. In it he talks about the biathalon in the winter olympics, that is the one where you combine cross country skiing and shooting a rifle, Seinfled jokes that this makes about as much sense as a swimming event where you stop to choke someone at the end of the pool. I have discovered that an equally odd combination of events has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, I just never realized how dumb the combination was until now.
This year the NCAA changed the rules of its football games in order to make them shorter, I guess for TV (I have no idea why anyone would ever want a football game to be over sooner, but that really isn't the point). If you follow college football at all you have probably heard that the coaches don't like the rule changes very much, I won't bother explaining them, but the basic complaint is that they change the strategy of the game and make it more difficult to come from behind. I recently read in Sports Illustrated that one option for shortening the games that the coaches would have preferred was to simply shorten halftime, thus making the broadcast shorter without effecting the game. This suggestion was rejected by the NCAA who informed the coaches that the marching bands needed the full halftime to perform.
And there is the odd combination. Why on earth do football and marching bands go together? You have probably never noticed it either because they have been together for so long that it just seems natural, but in reality it is a disgustingly abnormal relationship. I don't want to address which is better (you can probably guess where I stand on that one), but rather point out that as a football fan I have virtually no interest in the marching band, and I am pretty sure most other football fans would agree with me. Having them around in the stands during the game to play Hey Baby, or the school song is kind of fun (as long as you don't get the seat right in front of them and have a trombone in your ear for the whole game), but I think most football fans would be indifferent at best, play it on the loudspeaker for all I care. The point is, I don't think that the people who are there for the football care if the band performs at halftime or not, as long as they get their bathroom break and a fresh beer.
I don't mean to degrade marching bands though. They work hard and have a real talent, and there are a lot of people who want to see it, but I don't see the connection to football. I know two drum majors, and I can't see either of them on the front row painted blue with their shirt off in -10 degree weather cheering on the team. The band fans probably don't care about football any more than I care about the band. I think that if the roles were reversed and I had to watch three hours of a marching band just to see twenty minutes of football in the middle I would probably shove a pencil through my ear and/or eye. When you think about it, having a marching band at halftime of a football game is kind of like having the fat lady sing an aria between rounds at the WWF.
I think it is time to end this unholy union once and for all. Marching bands to the marching band competition, football to the football game, and never the two shall meet.