Unlike most of America, or at least most of my Facebook feed, I stayed away from football this weekend, except to check in on the Columbia-Georgetown game which took place at one on a marvelously sunny Saturday afternoon.
For pretty much the entirety of my adult life, Columbia has had one of the ten worst college football teams in the country. But two years ago, they decided 'enough is enough' and finally hired a coach, Al Bagnoli, who had led the University of Pennsylvania so successfully, to turn their program around.
Last week they beat Wagner--pronounced with a W--not a V like the German composer, 21-0, and this weekend they trounced the Hoyas 35-14
I played football for a year in high school--a tribute not to some transcendent athleticism on my part, but to my size. I was already, as a 16-year-old senior 6' tall and 200 pounds, and I had, because I was too stupid to acknowledge my limitations, prodigious strength and speed.
My team was a bad one, and after two resounding losses in our first two games, we had so many players injured that we couldn't field a proper squad. We had a team meeting and voted to discontinue the season for the safety of the remaining players.
Some kids, of course, voted at that meeting to soldier on. But I had a busted probiscis already and a bandaged face and though the peer-pressure--and a nascent machismo were there--I boldly said 'I'm out.'
The truth is, I've never really cared for the sport. I've always found it too brutal and ugly and warlike and as slow as an ice-floe in February.
This week, of course, Trump put football back on the front pages. Trump the draft-dodger, Trump the anti-Constitutionalist, Trump the Russian-colluder made standing for the anthem the litmus test of his brand of dime-store phony patriotism.
The truth is, I wish I could take a knee as well. That is not stand-up and acknowledge the meanness and xenophobia and racism which is now ascendant. Would that I could put my taxes in escrow and not have them go to propagating and propping up our illegitimate regime.
That said, I am a creature of hope and believe that the House of Trump is much like Poe's House of Usher. It will fall, I believe, by Halloween, or if not then, by the time the kneeling is over--by the end of the football season, perhaps we will, as a nation, be standing again.