Silver Linings After the Election, & the Greatest College Football Mascot Ever (posted 11/28/22)

Since there is more to life than politics – thank God! – I will touch on a few silver linings in our post-election milieu, and then move on to a weightier, non-political topic.

And because I might not be writing a second column this holiday week, I’m cramming this slightly longer column with even more insightful and entertaining digressions than I usually do.

You’re welcome. 

Or I’m sorry, if you’re one who thinks my columns are too long!

Okay, so one small bright side of this disappointing election is that Biden has been strengthened by the lack of a red wave, and seems determined to run for re-election in ’24.  I don’t think the Dems who are really running things can allow that, but it will be fun to watch all of the shooting inside the tepee (HA! #wemustneverstopmockingher) that goes on in the next year. 

They need to ditch Biden, but they also have to ditch the most common line-of-succession replacement for him, Que Mala.  And if you think it’s going to be popcorn-rific to watch them dump an old white guy who doesn’t want to go, wait until you see the fratricidal fireworks when they try to dump the first double-minority gyno-American VP in history!  Fun!

More importantly, I see more chaos and problems for the Dems, because their far-left fringe – which, perversely, is also their mainstream in DC – is taking the wrong lesson from their narrow defeat this month.  They are going to tack even farther left, which is neither where the country nor the majority of actual Dems in the country are. 

It’s also helpful that the person stepping into Pelosi’s ossified sandals is Hakeem “not Olajuwon” Jeffries, a far-left, race-baiting election denier.  The race-baiting doesn’t really set him apart from the rest of his party, most of whose members double-majored in Marxist theory and racial arson in their woke colleges.

But the election denying is a pretty sweet irony, and one which a minimally competent GOP (here’s crossing my fingers!) should hang around his perfidious neck every chance they get.  

For years he’s made ever more outrageous claims about Trump having stolen the election in 2016, being a fake and illegitimate president, etc.  You know, the way treasonous domestic terrorists – who should be hunted down, imprisoned and possibly executed – do.

(Having said that, given the incomprehensible lack of a red wave and the re-election of repugnant incompetents [Fetterbiden, Whitmer, Hochul, Hobbs, etc.] nationwide, it’s hard to be confident that horrible leftist candidates will lose, no matter how horrible they are.)

Even on the GOP side, there are also some glimmers of hope.  The red states – especially Florida, Texas, Iowa and Ohio, among others – provided salutary examples of good governance, conducting elections that were transparent and orderly, with the votes actually counted on election day! 

Zelden in blue NY managed to help flip a lot of House seats in his state, and DeSantis shepherded a mini-red tsunami in his state that should be a model for all red or reddish states going forward.

Even Kevin McCarthy – and I’m holding my breath to see how he performs as majority leader – is saying some encouraging things, such as that he will throw Swalwell, Schiff and Omar off of key committees.

Which is the least that a sane nation should expect, really.  It’s an embarrassment that even after Swalwell was banging Fang Fang, he was still allowed access to secret materials, and Schiff has been caught lying and abusing his authority on various committees dozens of times.  It’s a pitiful joke that either Swalwell or Schiff would ever be associated even tangentially with any committee that had “intelligence” in its title.

And Ilhan Omar is as vicious an anti-Semite as Rashida Talib, or whichever weird-beard jihadi is currently leading Hamas or Hezbollah.   

Plus, when the Dems kicked Marjorie Taylor Greene (who, to be fair, said a lot of stupid things, though she can’t hold a candle to any of the dumber Dems in congress, stupid-statement-wise) off of a committee, the GOP warned them they would regret establishing a precedent “in which the majority dictates the minority party’s committee assignments.” 

Enjoy reaping what you’ve been sowing, you arrogant, short-sighted socialist jerks!

But enough about all that.  This holiday week is meant to be a time when we set aside our political and other differences, and savor the finer, more important things in life.

Things like, say, football. 

Of course I don’t mean soccer.  Because a benevolent God gave us hands for a reason, and that reason is to stiff-arm an opponent, or grab his facemask if he’s stiff-armed us, or punch him in the throat when we’re on the bottom of a pile. 

Or to hold, throw and catch a ball, obviously. 

A game so perverse that it requires players to willingly forsake God’s great gift of hands in favor of kicking at a ball like a hand-less idiot seems almost – yes, I’m going there – blasphemous. 

Sure, feet are fine.  But do you know who else has feet, and could easily play a rudimentary kicking game? 

Monkeys.

And before you can object that monkeys also have hands, get out of here with that.  Monkeys have hands only in the sense that John Fetterman has cognitive ability.  Have you ever seen a monkey playing a violin concerto, or writing a hilarious political column with his so-called “hands?”

You have not.  So get back to me when you’ve got a couple of opposable thumbs, Dr. Zaius!  (Yes, that’s a trenchant Planet of the Apes reference.  Let’s see your average macaque come up with that!)

Where was I?

Oh yes.  

Because I’m a straight male who identifies as a straight male – not that there’s anything wrong with non-straight males… unless they don’t identify as males, in which case, get well soon – I love both college and pro football.

And after having lived more than three decades in a college town that has given the world both Tom Petty and the Fightin’ Gators, I’m very proud of my adopted hometown, and even more appreciative of SEC football in particular.

Have I spent many happy moments outside the Swamp (the great one, not the filthy, godforsaken one in DC) sitting cross-legged in front of the three statues of UF’s Heisman winners, Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow, you don’t need to ask, because you already know the answer?

If that sounds like I take this stuff a tad too seriously, I’ll counter by saying that those three are only my SECOND favorite trinity.  So I’ve got that going for me.

Anyway, my topic for today is Saturday night’s South Carolina – Tennessee game, which was amazing.  The unranked and three-touchdown underdog SC team defeated #5 TN by scoring 9 touchdowns!  I didn’t have a dog in that fight, but I always love a good underdog story, and this was a great one.

I especially love details like this:  The SC stadium has an incredible lighting system, with a giant horizontal superstructure built around and above the top of the stadium.  They’ve also got an apparatus for firing off multiple volleys of fireworks to celebrate each home-team touchdown.

Before Saturday’s game, the smart money said that they didn’t have to worry about firing too many volleys in their game against mighty Tennessee.  But they scored TDs on each of their 5 first-half possessions, firing double-volleys into the air each time. 

When they scored the first couple of second-half TDs, I noticed that they were firing only one volley each time.  And as they scored the final touchdown late in the last quarter, giving them 63 total points, they had no fireworks left, and had to be content with a potentially seizure-inducing light show.

That’s the beauty of SEC football: you can go into a game against a national powerhouse as an extreme underdog, and at the end of the night, your biggest problem with the game plan is that you run out of enough fireworks to celebrate your scores!

But more than any of that, I learned something new that has made me very happy.  It’s about the South Carolina pre-game team introduction, and the unbelievable cognitive dissonance-creating matching of music and lovably risible team traditions and mascots.

Many college football programs incorporate music into their in-game and pre-game routines.  Queen’s “We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You,” are played often (some say too often) during games, as are the mesmerizing dirty guitar opening bars of AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”  More satisfying are Wisconsin’s playing House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Florida’s playing Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” both during the break between the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Best of all (IMHO) is Virginia Tech’s use of Metallica’s sonic assault “Enter Sandman” as their players enter the stadium.  Over 80,000 people in the stadium – fans, the band, cops and EMTs, ROTC students in uniform, grandparents who risk breaking a hip – are pogo-sticking up and down as the music builds to a crescendo.  For a couple of minutes, the stadium registers on seismographs.

If you can watch that and not feel anything, you’re as dead inside as Joe Biden’s frontal cortex.

Which brings me to South Carolina’s pre-game ritual, which I’d never seen until Saturday night.  Rather than opening with an iconic rock guitar anthem, the good people of South Carolina have chosen – I swear I’m not making this up – Richard Wagner’s musical version of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”

If you think you don’t know that music, you do.  It was most famously used in Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  It’s iconic, and portentous, and evocative of a somber, awe-inspiring, incipient apocalypse.

So South Carolina plays that music, while rhythmically synchronized flashing lights fire off around the stadium, and cheerleaders roll an elevated, black-draped contraption out onto the field.  And at the climactic moment, they drop the black panels to reveal the South Carolina mascot in a cage:

A guy in an absurd rooster outfit, who then starts gyrating and kicking with his comically oversized, puffy yellow bird feet.

I laughed so hard when I saw that, and I had to watch it three more times to appreciate all of the nuances.  How many ways do I love it?

At least four.

1. The SC real-life mascot is a fighting rooster.  Which is already a little weird.  There are many inspiring birds in sports iconography: teams all over the country are called the eagles, or the falcons, or the hawks.  Baltimore went all Edgar Allan Poe with the Ravens.  Auburn’s War Eagle is the best.

But a rooster?  Even though roosters are known for being belligerent – the spurs on their legs can do a lot of damage if you get too close – they don’t have the majesty or gravitas of a falcon or an eagle.

2. What is the name for the actual bird mascot at SC?  “Sir Big Spur.”  Which is great!

3. But it gets better, because a particular subset of roosters that are trained to fight are called “Gamecocks,” which gives the team its official name.  And that, of course, has given birth to a thousand funny, politically incorrect references, from “Go Cocks” apparel to the student seating section of the stadium, which is called the Cock Pit.

(In fact, until recently the women’s teams were called “the Lady Gamecocks.”  Which in these days of creepy dudes dominating actual females in female sports might have created a too-disturbing mental picture.)

Yes, I’m nearly 100 years old, and a refined scholar and a gentleman.  So you’d think I’d be above juvenile [game]cock-related humor.

But you’d be wrong. 

In fact, in a PC age when various sports teams are meekly changing their names, and the Redskins played for several years under the generically neutered moniker of “the Washington Football Team,” I appreciate even more the way that South Carolinians have steered into the [game]cock skid.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a good title for a gay porno movie – and you definitely should not be – you could do worse than that last phrase.)

4. The chicken-suited mascot’s name?  “Cocky,” of course.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something more quintessentially American than the opening of that football game on Saturday night.   The juxtaposition of iconic high culture from two dour Germans and the unselfconscious joy of tens of thousands of people rocking a stadium in celebration of a grown man in a suit that looks like Foghorn Leghorn and Big Bird had a baby, before playing God’s favorite game?

Priceless.

Yes, it’s silly, and trivial, and more than a little goofy. But in a world in which we’re led by dimwitted narcissists, and when a huge number of my countrymen just said the country is on the wrong track and then voted for more of the same, I relish the visceral pleasure of an innocent, joyous celebration.

Does it hurt that each rocking stadium at gametime is also a sea of mostly red voters, or that you could count the number of America-hating 1619-project fans in all such stadiums on one hand? 

It does not.   

I am thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving – the chance for time with family, to concentrate my mind on everything we enjoy in life now, and on goals for the future.  As always, I am very grateful that CO created this site and gave me the chance to rant and mock, and also to get to know all of you in CO nation, and to take part in our now years-long buffet of conversation, commiseration, celebration and commentary.  

Not to mention juvenile humor and snarkery. 

So as you approach this holiday, please join me in also being thankful for the turkey that will grace our tables, and for that other symbolic, great American fowl:

Cocky, the ridiculous South Carolina mascot.

Fetterman/Cocky the Gamecock, 2024!

2 thoughts on “Silver Linings After the Election, & the Greatest College Football Mascot Ever (posted 11/28/22)”

  1. You should only know. I grew up on a farm, and one of the jobs the kids got was to get into the chicken coop, collect eggs, and feed the buggers before getting on the school bus mornings. Now that I am in my 70s, when wearing shorts or a bathing suit people to this day come up to me to comment on how many knee surgeries I’ve endured. The answer is: none. Those scars on my knees and lower legs came from several generations of godd—d roosters defending their territory when I entered their coop to FEED the ungrateful little bas—–!

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    1. I love it, Harry! The closest I got to actual farm work was walking beans for a few local farmers in the summers when I was 13-15. That gave me an appreciation for the work farmers do, and the knowledge that I didn’t want to go into farming — and that was without any up close and personal contact with any roosters! 🙂

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