They asked me to write a column about sports at CU. Something helpful to incoming freshmen and Boulder vets alike. “Have fun with it,” they said. “You’ll do great, ya fuckin’ rascal.”
First of all, let me just say that I still have no idea why they had to curse at me like that. It’s like, I don’t mind being called a rascal, but is the language really necessary?
Anyway, I took that charge seriously. This is the column that’s supposed to serve as the entire city’s primer for the upcoming year in local sport, and it’s an unbelievable honor to get the assignment. When I walked through the halls of the Kordell Stewart Sportswriting Wing in the-world famous Colorado Daily building in Boulder, I got chills just thinking of some of the great writers who came before, and who at one time or another filled this very same column space.
Roger Angell. Michael Wilbon. Lenny Kravitz. Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
I mean, wow. What a list!
When I got off the call with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who said he wanted to be the first to congratulate me on scoring this year’s sports column, I immediately began racking my brain, thinking of everything I wanted to tell you, the readers. My mind raced.
And, I’ll be honest, it’s been racing ever since. I haven’t slept in weeks, and I think my dog might be dead, because I haven’t filled his bowl since I got the assignment and his leash is still hanging up by my door.
Can you blame me? If you got this assignment, you’d feel the same. Do you spend all 500 words on CU men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle, and his tremendous recruiting acumen? How about a look-ahead to a CU football season, with a particular eye on the controversy surrounding head trauma and the game? Or maybe a shout-out to one of the club teams out there, like those ping-pong guys?
Each topic has it’s merit.
Basketball is the greatest sport in the world, and Tad Boyle has legitimately reinvigorated the program.
Football is a lesser sport, sure, but game days are the shit, and when your team kind of sucks, you never have to worry about being sad over a loss, and you get to laugh in other schools’ faces 10 times harder if you get a win.
And as for those ping-pong guys? Well, I don’t really know those guys, actually. They seem cool from what my friend told me.
But, you know what? The more I thought about it, the more I understood what this column is really about.
You guys, listen. It’s not about sports. It might seem like it is, but it isn’t. It’s about us. That’s right: us.
We are the climbers of mountains, the dancing feet of the high-country frog. We are the fighters of freedom, the makers of music and the dreamers of dreams.
Fuck, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this. You guys are so beautiful, and you don’t even realize it.
There is no sport. There has never been such a thing. There are only people, in clothes, playing games.
I love the Buffs as much as the next guy, but the sooner we all understand this basic truth, the better.
Alex Burness: twitter.com/alex_burness.