Let Red Raider Football Be Red Raider Fooball

There's no surer sign that major college football has gone corporate than the comprehensive effort to slap a big yellow (or perhaps pink) smiley face on the game. Everywhere one casts an eye in the month of October, one spies a pink shoe, a roseate sweatband, or a magenta sock. Here on the home front, Texas Tech has been on the bleeding edge of playing football to make the world a better place.

There's no surer sign that major college football has gone corporate than the comprehensive effort to slap a big yellow (or perhaps pink) smiley face on the game. Everywhere one casts an eye in the month of October, one spies a pink shoe, a roseate sweatband, or a magenta sock.

The pink profusion springs directly from Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the publicity efforts of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. College football programs, following the lead of NFL teams, have donned pink apparel in a show of solidarity with the cause of the month. The New Mexico State Aggies even went so far as to wear entirely pink uniforms in a game. "Pink Outs" have been declared for certain college football games, too.

But the color pink is only the most conspicuous and incongruous symbol of causes, which have crept into college football. Here on the home front, Texas Tech has been on the bleeding edge of playing football to make the world a better place. The Red Raiders have pledged games to Hispanic Heritage Appreciation, Wounded Warriors, and next on tap, Lone Survivors, in appreciation of soldiers who have received the Purple Heart.

But the piece de resistance of this phenomenon, which has gone largely unreported, is Tech's participation this Saturday in something called the Game Day Recycling Challenge. That's right, in an effort to "gauge the amount of recyclables that are generated at a home game" and in the cause of "educat[ing] the fans on sustainability," the university will collect recyclable trash, turn it in for a rebate, and use the money to establish a "Sustainability Scholarship."

Somewhere a certain ci-devant senator from Tennessee is lighting a smokeless, organic, locally-grown, fair trade victory cigar.

In case the sarcastic tone of the foregoing hasn't clued you in, yes, the author of this piece has a problem with converting football games into torch-bearing events for the latest trendy cause. Not that most of those causes aren't worthy—they are—but that is not the issue. The problem is that turning football games into pep rallies for whatever the Athletic Director deems most uplifting (or profitable) undermines the very nature of sporting events.

The primary reason sports of all sorts are so popular is that they provide an escape from the cares, pressures and concerns of workaday life. They are a sanctuary where, for a few hours, fans can forget about war, famine, pestilence, death and taxes. Sporting events are stress-breakers that allow us to forget about it all, if only for a short time.

But for those people for whom the personal is political, and the political is profitable, even a brief respite the worries of the world is just too much. Instead, the folks who run the show now see fit to inflict their self righteous and self serving altruism on the rest of us, whether we want it or not. It has even gotten to the point that our "betters" see fit to instruct fans on the need to recycle and be "sustainable."

Well, here's a newsflash. That is not what college football is all about. And in hectoring and browbeating fans, under pain of shame, to buy into the latest political or social cause, the policy-makers are subtracting from the mindless fun that is the purpose of these events. And perhaps one day the fans will, en masse, reduce their carbon footprint by staying home and watching the games on the boob toob.

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