Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boo! ... It's the East Coast Bias

Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the holiday, we look for something strange and peculiar in the college football blogosphere … the kind of stuff that gives us an eerie feeling that only idiot wackiness can deliver.

True, the loss to black and orange clad Oregon State … Oregon State … was paranormal enough. And, yes, we could probably find what we’re looking for in South Bend. But the “Irish” catch a break tonight from our post-loss frustration-venting Domer bashing. Instead, we look further east, where we find a frightening, bizarre strain of east coast bias in Ithaca, New York.

The post in question (and as you’ll see, I mean this quite literally) was written by a Mr. Kyle Sheahen of the Cornell Daily Sun, who delivers to us something truly mind-boggling. Seeking poignancy and irony by comparing the supposedly diverging paths of Matt Leinart and Kevin Boothe (who?), Sheahen adds a quote from Robert Frost to create something so confounding, it almost makes you wet your pants.

The highlights (or low lights) of Sheahen’s piece are abridged below. If you think I’m pulling this stuff out of context, dare to read the whole post if you like. But be warned, it may bewilder you to the point of no return.
USC, C.U. Alums Meet Up in NFL
The Ultimate Trip
By Kyle Sheahen

Hollywood has finally met the Ivy League.

As Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

For the first time ever, Matt Leinart and Kevin Boothe ’06 were mentioned in the same game story. Boothe’s Raiders beat Leinart’s Cardinals last Sunday [10/22], 22-9.

The two could not have taken more different roads to the NFL. Leinart hails from the O.C. — the land of cash and cars, surf and sand, Coopers and Cohens. Boothe is from Queens.

Leinart was one of the most decorated college football players in history. An All-American Heisman winner and two-time national champion, he lost only twice in 39 career starts at USC. He was all-world and the most recognizable NCAA athlete in the country.

Boothe was also a decorated player — in the Ivy League. He was also an All-American — at the Division I-AA level, with guys from Hofstra and Sam Houston State. With Boothe on the offensive line, Cornell posted a 15-25 record. …

On campus, [Leinart] was a god. In football, he was already a legend.

Despite his colossal stature, fewer people recognized Boothe. In the subdued gloom of Ithaca, Boothe was just another guy on a perennially mediocre Ivy team. If he weren’t 6-5 and over 300 pounds, he would have been just like any other Cornell student. …

On Sunday, the two rookies who could not have taken more different roads met on the same NFL field.

Unfortunately for Leinart, Arizona does not have much in the way of an offensive line. The team managed only 50 rushing yards and Leinart was sacked three times.

Lying on the ground, bruised, battered and staring up at the Bay Area sky, Leinart looked like the kind of guy who would trade his firstborn for decent pass protection. He also looked like someone who would give an extra million of his own money to have a player like Boothe on his team.

As it is, most of Leinart’s extra cash will be going to child support payments. On Wednesday, the quarterback’s first son was born in Los Angeles. Once again, the cameras, talk shows and magazines all followed him there.

Meanwhile, Boothe was back in Oakland, doing what Cornell students do best — working. Far from the bright lights, off-the-field scandals and Hollywood glamour, Boothe was memorizing Pittsburgh rush schemes. For him, it is just another week as a Cornell grad and professional athlete.

And that has made all the difference.
As Charlie Weis said last week, “That befuddles me.” Evidently, the Domers aren’t the only ones living in an alternate Bizarro World inside their own minds. For the life of me, I can’t understand what’s going on here. I can’t decipher the logic, the connection from one reference to the other. And so I must chalk it all up to some supernatural Ivy League form of communication that is beyond our five earthly senses.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s just horrible journalism. Either way, like dumb teenagers in a horror flick, I am compelled to investigate. So, in comment form, I dare to engage:

I have a few questions for you ... Do Boothe and Matt Leinart know each other at all? Did they meet at some point prior to last Sunday? Did they shake hands or acknowledge each other after the game in any way whatsoever?

What is the relationship between the two, other than that they played on the same field on the same day, albeit never at the same time?

In order for "two roads" to diverge, shouldn't there be at least some evidence that they were heading in the same direction at some point? Is it Boothe or Leinart who you think has taken the road "less traveled"?

Do you really think that two players with completely disparate lives -- who neither started in the same place nor will likely ever end up in the same place -- are worthy of a Robert Frost quote?

Boothe and Leinart are from different worlds ... so what? What is the point of pointing out this difference?

"Hollywood has finally met the Ivy League"? Hmmm ... Have you heard of Jody Foster, Natalie Portman, Tommy Lee Jones, Brooke Shields, Ed Norton, Paul Giamatti, Sam Waterston, Mira Sorvino, Jack Lemmon, etc., etc., etc.? Not to mention all the Hollywood writers, producers, agents, and attorneys from the Ivy League?

And what about that record-setting Cornell running back turned actor Ed Marinaro? "Hollywood has finally met the Ivy League"? What the hell are you talking about?

Seriously, if you want to pull USC Football into an attempt at poignant comparison, please check yourself and deliver something better than the sorry attempt you've made here. Had you done so, it would have "made all the difference."

The Displaced Trojan
Whoa … Did I digress here? Where did that "venom" come from? Perhaps my post-loss frustration still needs venting. It’s amazing what losing to Oregon State … Oregon State … will do to a Trojan fan.

It’s also amazing what the Ivy League will do to a student sports writer. Like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, Sheahen's post spooks you for a while, but in the end you gain an understanding of a bigger picture. It’s like the poignancy Sheahen couldn’t find in his piece, but we can see it clearly.

This is where the east coast bias is born, where crappy football meets ignorance. Very scary.


Anonymous said...

My friend......You sir are a very intelligent man. It is however to bad that you choose some bad humor about an overweight man to produce humor. You must be what......8 yrs old?

Displaced Trojan said...


Thank you for the compliment, I think. To be honest, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I shouldn't refer to Charlie Weis as a fat guy; it could be perceived as sophomoric, and in your case it was. But, really it's just a descriptor, not a criticism. I know Weis almost died after gastric bypass surgery a few years back, and I would never reference that with sarcasm. Still, you may have a point. His mouth is fat enough. Thanks for the input.