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Friday, October 09, 2009

Trailing Spouse Returns from FSU at Boston College Game to This

Last weekend we went to the Florida State football game at Boston College. Lulu had a speaking engagement in Sturbridge Massachusetts and we were lucky to catch the game and see my grandson - Jack. We had a great time and saw a fantastic game. We saw garnet and gold poison ivy that was strangling a tree in the picture above. When we returned home to Tallahassee we saw something really ugly.

I retired from teaching seventh grade science about 6 years ago. I worked in a small school district in Pennsylvania - spent my entire career in the same building and classroom. When age 55 came along - the school offered incentives to get rid of the older higher paid teachers - full pensions and medical insurance for life for my spouse and I. Never one to turn down a good deal - on my 55th birthday we had a big party and I walked out of the classroom never to return.
Yes - I felt like a dinosaur - the other teachers even to call me "Dirty Harry" like the Clint Eastwood cop character that did things his way. We had a staff of 80 teachers in the district - and in 2 years - 25 of us were gone. We came in together and went out together - spending 30 years of our lives as a team.

Within less than a year - my school dropped my earth and space science course from the curriculum - and even built a new school - condemning my old workplace of 33 years. Kids are now in a brand new school learning "environmental science."

So you can just imagine what my thoughts are about Bobby Bowden.

We came back to Tallahassee to find a "death watch" on Bobby Bowden's career. After going through 25 seasons without a losing record - winning 2 national championship - finishing in the top 5 in the nation for 14 years - Bobby's Noles are posting a losing 2-3 record. The anonymous harpies of the Internet and posters on the Tallahassee Democrat are busy fashioning the noose to hang Bobby Bowden.

Let's review the season so far. On Labor Day - they lost a game to Miami (3-1) in the last seconds. It was one of the most viewed football games on ESPN in all time. Then they barely beat an upstart Jacksonville State (3-2). This was followed by traveling to Utah and pounding then number 8 ranked BYU (4-1) - 52-20. They then lost by 10 points to a University of South Florida which is 5-0 now. Finally - on Saturday they came from 18 points behind to tie the game with Boston College (4-1) - only to lose in the last minute by a touchdown on a rainy Boston College campus.

The combined record of the teams FSU played is 19-5 and yet FSU almost won each game.

We didn't have tickets to the game at Boston College. The stadium is small right in the middle of campus - only holds maybe 45,000 people. You could reach out and touch the players on the sidelines. To our surprise - there were tons of tickets being sold outside - we were able to get 4 tickets on the 40 yard line for $10 each. My family had a blast just being in that atmosphere and cheering the Noles on as they scored 18 straight points to tie the score.

Back in 1988 - we spent the season in Tallahassee and our kids broke their piggy banks to buy FSU season tickets. That was the year Miami beat FSU 31-0 and then FSU ran the table. We ended up in the Sugar Bowl beating Auburn when Deion Sanders intercepted a pass in the last few seconds before his report card arrived home to say he failed algebra . Ever since then we have been loyal FSU fans and big admirers of Bobby Bowden.

In the last 20 years Bobby Bowden and FSU have added too much color and pride to our lives. Lulu parades around like her PhD is tattooed on her butt cheek. We used to make the 200 mile round trip to Philadelphia to watch the games on illegal satellite TV in the old days with the Seminole Boosters there. It was so much fun needling the Penn State alumni in my faculty room when Bobby's Noles - our Noles - were thumping everybody - yes everybody.

The naysayers have had to wait 30 years for Bobby to have a losing record - 2-3 - and now they want to fire him before he can right the ship. Heck - even PSU gave Paterno a chance after TWO losing seasons. Maybe it's time for Ann Bowden to give $2 million to the library.

One of the biggest sources of the venom is the anonymous posts on the Tallahassee Democrat web site. Any crackpot can sit at home in the privacy of his toilet and type such drivel - assured that no one will punch him in the mouth. Few of them have the courage to sign their real names because they are cowards. I think since newspapers are in such financial straits - they will succumb to anything to appease readers and hope they continue to buy the paper edition. No one should be allowed to publish such vitriol without signing their own name and being accountable for their words.

All those years - I wondered how it could be possible for one man to have so much success in college football. How could he take a football team from a little girls' college in the middle of nowhere Florida Panhandle - and beat the big boys week after week? Everybody in the nation looked to FSU for unexpected thrills - the punt rooskie - end arounds - Buddie Reynolds - Charlie Ward - Deion Sanders - Shade Tree Jones - Jungle Joints. Bobby still excites the nation - the Labor Day television audience proved that FSU is still a happening - even if it is only to witness a "wide right" train wreck.

With all the excitement and flavor that he has brought into my life - and the competitive teams that he still produces - Bobby Bowden deserves better than this.

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