The A-Line It is what it is, unless it is not
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2008
22
Oct

Misery

There certainly seem to be a lot of unhappy fans around. My Sunday morning habit of scanning the message boards of losing teams for amusement not only sets a bright tone for the day, it reveals the absolute depths of misery and despair that seems to accompany being a fan of college football. Go figure.

Once again, the thought occurs as to why people subject themselves to what is obviously such a disagreeable activity. If losing a football game creates such anguish, quit watching and find a more pleasant way to spend one’s time. I did.

Last Saturday found relatives of mine running around my house engaged in the long overdue job of a general housecleaning. Mine is a house that has housed members of my family since it was built in the late 1940’s. This was a family famous for never, ever, throwing anything away, a tendency to which I have contributed mightily. There was sixty years worth of accumulated stuff.

I found myself running from room to room responding to cries of, “Jim, come look at this.” These invariably led to my saying, “You want it?” or “throw it away.” The local refuse collectors were no doubt impressed by the sheer volume I presented for their removal this week.

Occasionally, there turned up some rather interesting items that I was utterly unaware were under the same roof. Among the hundreds of photographs that turned up in boxes stashed in other boxes stuck into the storage areas [ie, junk rooms] that have constituted a steadily-increasing amount of square footage were several that dated back to the Nineteenth century. They are still around.

Also still in my possession are some letters written by a great-grandfather to his sister that started in 1893. They made for interesting reading. It would seem that this sister had caused bit of a stir in the family with a choice of husband that didn’t exactly thrill the rest of the brood. A family expressing dismay over a choice of spouse was not the last time that would happen in the clan.

Found in the bottom of a trunk, underneath a number of afghans crocheted by my mother and grandmother, apparently for the purpose of taking up storage space for six decades, was a scrapbook kept by my mother during World War II while my father was in Italy dueling the German Army. It contained newspaper clippings from the local rag pertaining to the war.

Including my father, four Aldersons took part; all made it home, including the one taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. The news story denoting his capture was in the scrap book. Stuck into the back was an intact copy of the paper dated May 8. 1945.

My habit of turning first to the Sports section informed me that Germany’s surrender assured that there would be a World Series played in four months. No mention was made of what one had to do with the other. While sporting events had been postponed or canceled eleven months earlier because of D-Day, everything would go on as scheduled on this date. That was a relief.

Perusing the rest of the paper, I discovered that new tires could be bought for $5.50 each, a pint of mayonnaise could be purchased for $0.29, the commander of Nazi forces in Pilsen committed suicide shortly after surrendering to Patton, good paying jobs could be had at the Radford Ordnance Works and New River Ordnance Plant, although perhaps not for long, a war plant in Ohio had instituted a ‘no swearing’ rule after complaints were lodged by Rosie the Riveter, a thousand Japs [the headline writer’s word] were being killed each day on Okinawa, TASS reported that the Red Army thought they had found Hitler’s body in the rubble of Berlin, two Luftwaffe JU-88s had decided against surrender and had instead flown to Scotland and succeeded in bombing a vat containing 861 million gallons of Scotch whiskey [a true war crime] before being shot down and a house I now own was listed for sale in the Real Estate classifieds for a purchase price very near what I paid for it fifty years later. It was probably in better shape at the time.

Giving and throwing away stuff along with examining historical artifacts meant that I had little time to do more than glance at the afternoon’s televised football games that were being beamed to my unpopulated Den. There were other things to do.

Late Saturday afternoon two vehicles pulled out of my driveway, a full-size Dodge pickup with the bed almost dragging the ground from its load and a Lincoln Town Car stashed with so much stuff there was barely room for the driver. By Saturday night things had calmed to the point where I could sit and watch the Tech- Fredo game. My relatives should have stayed longer.

Things did not go particularly well for the good guys last Saturday on Chestnut Hill. Football remains primarily a game of blocking and tackling. Generally, the side that does both the best wins. Fredo dominated both lines of scrimmage and he won. It happens.

For all of the ‘business as usual’ tone of news stories during the five game winning streak, leading many to believe that things were sailing right along as they usually do for Tech football, there were some serious deficiencies that were exposed and exploited Saturday night. They include a woefully-weak offensive line, a quarterback badly in need of the learning experience of the red-shirt year he will now never get, youth everywhere, including a load of inexperience at wide receiver, a general overall drop in the talent level and a high Thug Factor among some players expected to make large contributions at the skill positions. Fredo had the better team and he won. The only reason it was as close as it was can be attributed to some curious coaching decisions by Fredo’s brain trust that led to numerous turnovers.

Given the reloading nature of this Tech team, it would seem a very good coaching job had been done in righting the ship after the ECU game and compiling the five-game winning streak that Fredo brought to a screeching halt. This is hardly a vintage Tech team. There are weaknesses galore, seemingly everywhere but the record. Frank and his staff are reloading on the fly and mostly managing to keep winning while doing so.

It is hard to find any acknowledgment of any good coaching by reading Tech message boards, however. The loons are in full throat. Once again, the cries are shrill proclaiming that Frank can no longer coach and the game has passed him by, apparently at some point between the trips to Nebraska and Boston.

According to the loons, Frank is not capable of leading a football team to the MNC that they regard as just another federal entitlement program. Perhaps Obama with his ‘Promise them anything’ campaign strategy will soon be running ads guaranteeing an MNC in every pot. He can promise to tax the MNCs of USC and Texas and the other handful of programs with the tradition and financial muscle to maintain MNC caliber programs each and every year unless they do not.

Frank’s biggest deficiency in the fuzzy world of message board loons is his reluctance to consign to Stiney, in the middle of a season, mind you, the fate demanded by the loons. That fate is much the same as that demanded in my 1945 paper by Stalin for all captured German officers and officials, their immediate execution. Loons can be a bloodthirsty lot when they don’t win.

Perhaps Frank will take time out while discussing his next business deal on the golf course or while relaxing at the lake to ponder the direction of Tech’s somewhat less-than-stellar offense. Maybe there will be changes made among the offensive staff. OC change certainly worked well for Clemson and Auburn.

Any changes that may or not be made won’t be announced during the season, however. For now, we will have to deal with not summary judgment but the staff working at attempting to make the offense better, which likely won’t happen until more experience is obtained.

This seems an intolerable situation to the loons. There seems an easy answer. While I do enjoy and appreciate the laughter induced by reading the message boards of losing teams, I do have concerns for the emotional well-being of loons.

If having to follow a very young team lead by coaching stiffs Frank and Stiney produces such grim misery, quit watching. Find something more enjoyable to do.

Spend Saturdays reading a book, raking leaves, hiking and enjoying the fall foliage, anything but continuing to subject yourself to the wretchedness of following this 5-2 Tech team another second. Or contact me. I have several rooms to go and would really enjoy the help.

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