Flattland - "Reader Mail Stampede!"

Trav Flatt addresses reader input on the Ricky Williams debacle and introduces us to the...um...DRAMATIC story of the Intense Football League's San Angelo Stampede.

It’s been a busy week in Flattland, burrowing through Reader Mail. Not that I’m complaining. To the contrary, I’m very fond of reader mail. For one thing, it’s easier to prattle on for 800 words when you have an actual other person to prattle to. Someday, I’ll be able to compile an entire column as follows:

So, the Readers said…

“Here is a whole page full of reader quotes.”

Har! Ferret!

And then I’d be done for the week without having to actually do anything. It could take Editor Doug MONTHS to catch on, as he really doesn’t read this stuff (Editor’s Note: Huh? Read what?). This week was mostly reassuring, though. Apparently, I am far from being alone in thinking that Ricky Williams is a Goat Doot. Point of fact, I have yet to receive a Pro-Ricky mail. To the contrary, many readers seem primed to burn Ricky in effigy on a daily basis.

Here are some of the send-offs Ricky has inspired:

Reader Steven Inquired:
“How can anyone be so, well, stupid?”

Reader Jack Lamented:
“Hard to have more than a small amount of compassion for someone that has obscene amounts of money throw at them because of an athletic ability. I guess we now have a new poster boy for selfish actions.”

Well, Kellen Winslow Jr. is coming pretty close. Turning down the opportunity to be the highest paid Tight End in the league? Without even having played a DOWN in the NFL? I bet that makes all the other hardworking Tight Ends in the league feel warm and fuzzy.

Reader Brian Summarized:
“…talk about the class and honor that may have departed with the loss of NFL athlete’s like Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Boomer Esaison, Phil Sims, and Joe Montana – man, I miss those days.”

And that’s really the bottom line basic rooted through ALL of the ‘Hell With Ricky’ Reader mail: Class. Honor. Integrity. Actual “work” and “respect” for “others” stuff that occasionally, Pro Athletes don’t comprehend. Now, luckily, there still ARE players out there who are real Class Act type of people. Check out our own Trent Dilfer for one. Look no further than the Grant Wistrom Foundation. The Class Acts haven’t left us, amigos… They just don’t get quite the ratings they used to, so they’ve lost a lot of coverage.

Lots of stuff to cover this week, so I can’t linger. Now it’s on to:

Local Sports Oddity

This ties into a Reader Dave request that I share some local weird sports news and take a break from covering weird British sports. It’s only fair. I’ll provide a more specific example shortly, so hang in there, Dave.

As you may or may not be aware, my new home has an indoor football team. The San Angelo Stampede are members of the brand spanking new Intense Football League. They were sitting at the top of the division, though now they’re finding themselves on the verge of being squeezed out of the playoffs.

Question: How do you have a “Playoffs” with just one division? Doesn’t the team who wins the most games “Win”? I’m mildly confused by this, but I’ll trudge onward.

Last weekend, it seems that a newly acquired player was still supposed to be serving a suspension on the team from which he was traded. Thus, he was declared ineligible for Saturday’s game shortly before said contest. The coach, as well as the players, grew quite irate over this little technicality and basically refused to participate in the game. San Angelo forfeits, fans go home understandably vexed. What the hell?

I can see perhaps playing the game under protest, or perhaps… Just sucking it up and PLAYING THE GAME, get it resolved over the next week. But, NO! The Stampede elected to take their ball and go home. Way to win over the local support in the first year, guys.

Then, it got stranger. San Angelo’s coach, for his actions on Saturday, was served a “Lifetime Suspension” from the league.

Question Two: Doesn’t “Suspend” imply a temporary condition? You’re suspended forever and ever! Just call it a “Ban”, league persons.

In response to this, nearly HALF of the Stampede’s roster, including one All-Star Quarterback and an All-Star Running Back (Or maybe it was a Fullback. Some sort of damn back, anyway, it doesn’t matter) decide that they’re just going to quit the team. Yep. Twelve San Angelo players throwing in their helmets and calling it quits.

But wait! This same week, a San Angelo Defensive Tackle (And as I understand it, also a line coach) just flat-out dies of a heart attack at the mind-numbingly young age of 28. A local news station, while doing a good piece on the guy, failed to edit out what was a pretty morbidly ironic quote, “He had a good heart.” Now, call me overly sensitive, but wouldn’t it be a good time to find a better way to phrase that?

In any event, a certain number of the Stampede changed their minds and now they’re going to suit up and play in the shadow of this tragic event. Most of them are. I THINK. In fact, it’s hard to tell who’s even still on the team, who’s quitting, who’s suspended, and, well, who’s still among the living. It’s become the Days of Our Lives of indoor football. As the Stadium Turns.

Guess we’ll find out Saturday if we still have a football team or not. So much for the “Playoffs” that I still don’t comprehend.

Other Weird Local Happenings

Okay Dave, here it is… Just down the road from me, just last week, was held the following annual event…

"The Screaming Weenie Boat Race".

Yes. I don’t know why it’s called the The Screaming Weenie Boat Race. Perhaps because anyone who gets into the boats these people use immediately BECOMES a screaming weenie. Why? Because of the specific rules pertaining to the boat race down the Concho River.

The boat must be made from the following two supplies only :

1.) Cardboard.
2.) Duct Tape.

How’s THAT for a Wal-Mart special? In any event, any oars, rudders, or other attachments the participants wish to utilize fall under the same ‘Cardboard and Duct Tape’ rule. One contestant even included cardboard flames shooting out the back of his boat, possibly to symbolize the speed with which it would sink.

Fire off your scintillating insights, inquiries, and Screaming Weenie Boat Schematics (I’m gonna WIN it next year!) to trav@spinn.net.

Trav Flatt

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