During my business travels, once I check into my hotel and see the inside of my room, no matter what part of the state, I can’t wait to peel off my Mid-American Cleaning Contractors apparel and climb into some jeans, T-shirt and favorite ball cap, which has pretty much been my look when I’m not dressed for work for more decades than I’d care to count.
Recently, after checking in to a Quality Inn in Gallipolis, just across the Ohio River from our West-by-God neighbors, I returned to the front counter to snatch some of the cookies I spied during check-in. While I was there, one of the blue collars with whom I often share this particular hotel turned around and saw my T-shirt.
I happened to be wearing one emblazoned with my alma mater Miami University Redhawk likeness. Now, when I left so very reluctantly Miami’s lovely campus and all that Georgian architecture behind in early June of 1973, the school mascot was a Redskin. However, in these far more politically correct times, many of the schools that used to have Native American mascots have made the change. There are no more St. John’s Redmen, rather Red Storm, and those pre-1995 Marquette Warriors have morphed into Golden Eagles, and so it happened with my Redskins in 1998.
At any rate, the young man still sporting his optic-green safety vest and a pair of muddy steel-toed boots spied my Miami “T” and deadpanned, “Hey, I just heard on the truck radio the Bucks just scored again on Miami.” When his co-workers turned around and saw my apparel, everyone, including the desk clerk, all had a good laugh over that Sept. 21 Buckeye pasting of my Miamians at Ohio Stadium, even though the game was a month and a half earlier.
If you’ve forgotten, it was one of this season’s most lopsided wins for any of the collegian football elites. After Miami scored on a safety and a field goal to go up 5-0, our state university scored 76 straight points, which I would imagine must be some sort of a record.
As all college football fans know, the practice of inviting small and totally overmatched schools’ teams into the gridiron elites’ houses for three hours or so on an early fall Saturday, usually for the worst spankings the visitors will receive all season in exchange for a hefty check to help fund the golf team’s travel expenses and pay the referees for all the home field hockey games, has been going on for quite some time.
I guess that puts those of us with ties to those small schools, as I have for the academically highly regarded and venerable Miami first chartered in 1809, in line for some verbal jabs even several weeks after that 76-5 had already been posted.
Now, in the world of sports, on those rare instances where David’s sling does strike Goliath in the temple and drops that 9’9”, 600-pound behemoth, it’s a pretty big story. Sure there was that time when tiny Appalachian State took down No. 5 Michigan in 2007 in The Big House in Ann Arbor, but those games are the outliers. Generally, these types of games are the Seinfeldian equivalent of Cosmo Kramer dominating his dojo and throwing all those 9-year-olds around the karate mat in an episode all show’s devotees will surely remember.
As far as how I took my jab, well, using some pugilistic parlance, I proved my chin was not made of glass. I commended my blue-collared antagonist on a fine example of that time-honored male tradition of verbally slapping another member of the tribe around.
When my Miamians got back into their own Mid-American Conference sandbox, the team played quite nicely with the rest of our fellow schools, winning the Eastern Division and clinching a berth in this Saturday’s conference championship game to be played this Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit.
So, here’s to the rest of the season during the run-up to the holidays, football fans. While there are always a few Davids out there loading up their slings, come the end of the year when it comes down to big conference championships and the postseason’s final four teams selected to play for a national NCAA championship, rest assured, there will only be the Goliaths left.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.