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Jerry Tenuto: "Out Of The Blue"

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Ask virtually any football coach, and he 'll tell you that football is life. Not all, but most.

It 's unfortunate that the vast majority of players, and even more unfortunate that so many fans of the game, buy into this utter nonsense.

The fact is football is just a game. Invented for the rich, privileged college types by rich, privileged college types, in its infancy football was not intended to include the unwashed masses.

The game was originally played exclusively at exclusive schools for the pleasure of the exclusive set, those who could afford to send their offspring and themselves attend weekly contests.

Until it was discovered how much money could be vacuumed out of the pockets of average, hard working, sweaty, unwashed masses types who enjoyed seeing large men crash into each other and knock opponents senseless.

Especially after the newfound fans had gone through the ritual of the tailgate party and gotten wasted before the coin toss.

For this stroke of marketing genius we have Papa Bear George Halas to thank.

Myself, now, I prefer Baseball, a far more noble and accessible game. (Okay, before steroids.) One that takes considerably more strategy and hand-eye-foot coordination. It 's also more relaxing, friendlier, and (as George Carlin put it) pastoral.
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Many football fans utter the trite old phrase, "I don 't like baseball 'cause it 's too slow. " Do you mean like the five-minute wait for a three-second play in football?

Tape a three-hour football game, edit out all the non-action time when the clock is running, and there might be three to six minutes of actual play left. More often than not, one can predict what will occur when any two given teams are matched up.

In baseball, once the ball leaves the pitcher 's hand anything can happen. It could set off a chain of events that might lead to a six-run inning, a triple play, or any of a number of plays. We never know, and strategizing is always filled with multiple layers of complexities.

Besides, it takes a damn sight more talent to hit a nine-inch orb coming at you around 95 MPH in an arc with a stick of wood, then keep it within a 90-degree framework, than to run into another guy and knock him on his ass. It is accepted by many as the most difficult thing to accomplish in any sport; to succeed is to fail 70% of the time.

The reason, I suspect, why so many football fans find baseball "too slow " is that the concentration factor makes their heads hurt.
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As difficult as it is to be accomplished at baseball, most players and coaches seem to be lightheartedly philosophical. Generally speaking, they kind of take it in stride that a guy only has so many playing days in him, and once those have been used up it 's time to hang up the bat and glove.

I have never heard a Yogi Berra, a Dusty Baker, any other manager, coach or player equate the game of baseball with life. Sure, there 's the slogan, "I Live for This. " Many people have iterated the sentiment of love of the game. Wrigley Field has been referred to as the "Shrine " to the game.

And baseball 's been "berry, berry gud " to many guys. Some hang around after the knees go in various field and front office positions; others opt for the broadcast booth. Most, like old soldiers, just fade away.

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An erstwhile Philosopher and sometime Educator, Jerry Tenuto is a veteran of seven years service in the U.S. Army. He holds a BS and MA in Broadcast Communications from Southern (more...)
 

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