I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
Don't ask me why. I've said this on many occasions, but failed to get the answer that I was requiring. Nothing new under the sun, so says the Book of Ecclesiastes. And this is right. Even the piece that I am sharing with you today. You should enjoy it because there are lots of football fans, pro, college, and high school out there in "Sportsville." I know. I used to follow a lot of games simply to have something to talk about on Mondays where I worked. We didn't have a water cooler, but we had a coffeemaker and we gathered there for a bit of football wisdom.
Ahhh, good times.
NCAA College Football has been a fan-favorite for so many Saturday afternoon's that I cannot count. For some, College and NFL Football turns into a new religion when play-off's begin to take shape and if you are tagged as a "Football Widow," then you understand.
At the risk of sounding boring, I am going to share the following college division's and how they are designated. There are the NCAA member institutions that are divided into three divisions: Division I, II, and III. For football, Division I is further divided into Football Bowl Subdivision schools (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision Schools (FCS). The purpose of the divisions is to create parity and a more level playing field in intercollegiate sports. This made all of your queries into common sense. So, even for me, a red-blooded American male, please tell me what a Round Robin stand for?
So now, on with the show. A tune-up team in college is a college that is not in Division I with Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and the likes. When their season begins, these power-house schools always invite a tune-up team to play them just so their coaches can find the team's weak areas and get an overall picture of the team which is heading to play a rather tough schedule.
But do not start crying for tune-up teams. Each of these schools do try hard and on some miraculous movement of the planets, win a game that will make their fans love them for years. But this is not the norm. The bigger colleges pay the tune-up teams around $2 million bucks to just try hard and look good and then go down in defeat.
Are you as disgusted as I am? Well I am. At the end of each tune-up contest, the players all shake hands, smile and head for the bus, the tune-up teams that is. And the two head coaches meet at md-field and share sympathetic renderings and go back to their teams. If the coaches are sincere in their genuflecting or not is up to them and our Maker.
In order for us to make sense of how (a) head coach of a tune-up team might meet to recruit a less than average high school player on the third string:
Head coach : "Son, I see from your team records that you dropped the ball eight times in the first games of this season. Well, do not worry. You can play with my team."
Tune-up high school recruit: "Wow-eee, coach! Thanks. Oh, am I going to be on the first string or b string?"
Head coach: "Are you kidding? I am going to put you on my first string and without practicing. How about that?
Tune-up high school recruit: "Gee, coach! Well, I can't promise you that I will do any better."
- Head coach: (Laughs): "Ahhh, now. That shouldn't worry you because most of my team knows all about fumbling, interceptions and getting penalized from games. Not for infractions, but falling asleep while on the field."
- Here are a few of the things that a tune-up player might say to his friends, girlfriend, parents, and other tune-up team mates:
- "Sorry for being so late, Jan. But my coach insisted on walking around the field just to learn more confidence in losing fumbles."
- "Say, Marge. There's something wrong with your white blouse! Here! Now that handful of black mud will look just like our football uniforms look each weekend when we lose another game."
- "Sure, Mr. and Mrs. Buckley. I plan on graduating high school for sure, but if I do not pass my junior year, I will be kept back. But I'm used to that because that's my position on my tune-up team: Bench warmer: Third string."
- "No, sir. I wasn't upset when I came to pick-up Marge last Saturday night because a rival guy, a senior quarterback from another rival team took her out, but you know? I'm used to losing when I play football with my tune-up team, but it builds character."
- I can tell you why most tune-up football team players are happy all of the time:
- Tune-up teams lose every game in the season and they experience no tension or stress, so they will not have hypertension problems or massive heart attacks when they get into real life.
- The motto for most tune-up teams is: "Sometimes you lose and sometimes you lose."
- "Hey, Cassie! Did you see me throw six interceptions in our game? Wow. That is some kind of record."
- Tune-up team members knew early on that they would not excel in going out for football because they were always chosen last or not at all.
- Tune-up team members' names are always mispronounced by teachers, not due to the fact that their names are complicated with names like: John, Sam, and Dickie.
- When a tune-up football team member goes by to pick-up his girlfriend, her mostly-laid-back dog growls at him and sinks its teeth into his legs which need attention from the local ER.
- A tune-up head coach will probably say to his tune-up team on the first day of Spring Training: "Now people. Listen up! See this football? Learn it through and through. And see how I am going to fumble the football? Let's see you practice fumbling for your next tune-up drills."
Fans of a tune-up team . . .
- Never get their hopes up for a win. If their tune-up alma mater does make 10 points in the game this weekend, the alumni stand-up and chest-bump and give high-fives.
- Always wear a big smile when they attend a local bar that is close to their college campus and when they face a big winning crowd, they smile even bigger and say, "Hey, how 'bout the way that our tune-up team literally got stomped during most of the game?"
- Never wear their alma mater sweaters because their college did not have the extra funds to get them. But not to worry. A ladies group near the tune-up college, paid from their own pockets, a hundred expert seamstresses to make these tune-up teams a nice white tee-shirt with the motto,"Hey, Losing is cool. We love under-achieving."
- It has been rumored or maybe a Urban Legend that said that one year the local tune-up college football team lost on one weekend even more than usual. But they didn't get upset. Their tune-up left tackle and wide receiver both sneaked-out of the game at halftime to be with their tune-up girlfriends in the stadium parking lot.
Writer's honest note: "I was a tune-up, not because I played football in high school, but I chose to not go out for my high school sport. I did wear some tune-up shirts and pants that my mom sewed and made them look presentable. As a matter of fact, I am proud that I was, and still am, a tune-up." Thanks, Kenneth."
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