Going Gonzo with Wolfgang

This week's offering from Wolfgang will resonate with most of you...he takes a look at the world of message board posters.

I can't stop myself from looking. Quick, unplug my computer or blind fold me. Gouge out my eyes with an ice pick if you must. It's like driving past a car wreck… what; am I supposed to NOT look?

Admit it, you do it too. After a Big 10 or Big 12 team has a horrendous loss you mosey on over to their message boards to see how many people are hanging from the shower rod. It's a guilty pleasure. Kind of like watching American Idol. Sometimes I feel like I need to take a shower after reading much of it. It was tough for my wife to take a shower at my place after the ISU and OSU games because, I myself, was hanging from the shower rod. I have 9 lives during the Hawkeye sports season.

Print journalists, radio talk show hosts, coaches, players, and athletic directors love to bash the message boards, yet I'll promise you that they all read them. How do they know how bad they are if they've never read them? It's a good way to see what's on people's minds, and yes, SOME of the message board posters have lost their minds.

Message boards are no different than what's going on at your local sports bar right now. The same things being said at the water cooler at work are being said on the various message boards. Sports radio callers spew the same stuff that is being typed on the message boards. So why do message boards have such a bad reputation? My guess is because you don't have to put your actual name out there, only your screen name.

Ah yes, screen names. Many of us have thought long and hard about which screen name we will gloss ourselves with. What should I call myself? JACKASS, Peachpony67, AZCyclone, greenballhawk, Chalupa81, DweebBuster, BigFall, blubber hawk, crawl102, and GotWood are already taken. Some people call me the space cowboy, some call me the gangster of love…some people call me Maurice. It's Janet…Ms. Jackson if you're NASTY. Should we leave our telephone numbers after our screen name where they can reach us for comment? Would that make them feel better?

Some people may be hiding behind screen names, but people on the boards build up credibility the more they post. It doesn't take long to figure out whose credible and knowledgeable versus who's just some snot nosed 12-year-old posting on the board as he goes through a hormonal rage. Not that there's anything wrong with being a snot nosed 12-year-old. I once was a snot nosed 12-year-old; now I'm a snot nosed older person, going through a hormonal rage.

That's one of the great aspects of message boards. It doesn't matter what race, creed, color, age, body type, or tax bracket you fall into. If your post is one of fact or well thought out opinion you too can have a voice. If you say something outrageously ignorant with no basis in common sense you're going to be called out as a "flamer" whose posts should be completely ignored. Just like the drunken guy at the sports bar.

There are extremists in every part of society out there. Religious, political, or even sports extremists. Some people like to strap a bomb under their coat and board a bus, while others like to drop a bomb on the message boards to see what kind of carnage they can cause.

As I was road tripping to the various message boards I came across a couple that caught my eye. Iowa State message board posters are calling for their coach's job. They're wondering why they can't get as pumped for every game on the schedule as they do for the Hawkeye game. If they can't beat the juggernaut Baylor who can they beat they say? They're debating whether or not ISU should cancel the game with Iowa because the coaches and players seem to put everything they have into that game. They're labeling an ISU radio sideline reporter as a traitor for his comments about the fans at the game on Saturday.

The Michigan board is in absolute meltdown mode as well. They're wondering if they'll even make it to a bowl game this year. They're openly questioning if Corky from "Life Goes On" could coach the Wolverines to a better record than they have now. Thank goodness we beat Purdue this week!

If one were to profile a message board poster you'd get knowledgeable, passionate, and a little bit crazy. -- AND sometimes, quite frankly, a lot of bit crazy. I once threw a bag of Cheetos so hard at the television after Iowa lost to UNLV that I found Cheetos in various places around my living room for a decade. Since I am one of you people I felt like I needed to use these 875 words to defend you/us. Black n' gold overalls, face paint, and a corncob hat sometimes is the picture that is painted by the media when they try to define passionate Hawkeye fans. Hawkeye Nation.com posters are what I use to describe the most passionate of the passionate. We aren't normal and that's good. Who wants to be normal? Normal people annoy me. Normal people are losers! SEACREST OUT!

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