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/// OP-ED E-MAILS TO BLIGHTY | by David Smith MEAN & SOBER | by Stad DiPonzi Peter Capaldi West Michigan’s Varsity Blues I

LIKE FOOTBALL. I played when I was a kid in scrubby lots and of course the street – often until it was too dark to see the ball. I watch college games, the Lions and am

in the occasional office pool. Given these affections, it pains me to admit my emerging concerns about the game as entertainment. My issue isn’t the steroids, the gambling

or even the fantasy leagues. While these topics range from disturbing to pathetic, they are still primarily limited to the college ranks and the NFL. Whether it is a player with suspiciously fast muscle growth or a fantasy addict neglect- ing his kids for the 9 a.m. pre-pre-pre-game show, the decisions of adults (more or less) are their own. You cannot say that about high school

football. The participants are far from adult- hood, and how the game has been packaged, marketed and consumed should give us all a bit of indigestion. To be clear, my concern isn’t about physical safety of players, which I think actually is pretty well managed. My concern is how disproportionate the hype has become. GRPS doesn’t have a superintendent and

cannot afford heat or new roofs new, yet I am much more likely to catch another pain- ful promo for TV8s FOOTBALL FRENZY WALL-TO-WALL IN YOUR FACE cover- age than I am an update on the millage. The Sunday Press is skinnier than a Jonas brother’s necktie, but they still find plenty of room for in-depth PREPS BONUS coverage … good

luck finding the MEAP scores, but did you see the third quarter rushing yards from that Hesperia game??? As bad as it is here (bad), I know we pale

in comparison to states like Texas or Florida. ESPN’s Longhorn Network was going to carry high school games until the idea was squashed by a college conference. I watched “King of the Hill” … I know what goes on. The cult of high school athlete as celebrity

isn’t new or inherently evil by any stretch. But there is a huge difference between the valida- tion a 16-year-old gets from a varsity jacket and the disillusion he gets from 24/7 media coverage. Going from a star at 17 to a nobody at 18 has always been a bitch, but now the fall can be a lot farther. Ultimately, there is plenty of blame to go

around here, with media simply following the ad dollars and eyeballs and the schools more or less doing the same. My gut is that the issue lies mostly with parents unable or unwilling to stop the runaway hype machine every fall. Don’t tell me it’s Americana, tradition or com- munity pride. And don’t tell me it’s “Friday Night Lights” … I know “Toddlers and Tiaras” when I see it. n

SDP has his kidney up for sale on Craig’s List so he can afford a ticket to this year’s ArtPrize win- ner’s announcement … nothing says public art like gouging the public.

Swear Box

In troubled times, stress levels rise. The TV tells me we are in troubled times, so my stress level has risen. It’s like a shroud of doom hanging over us, but it could just be a blanket of happy. As a result of heightened stress, I swear more. Beastly, ghastly curse words, spat out at bad drivers and slow grocery shoppers with venom.

I have discovered that Americans swear differently to the British. In fact, they hardly swear at all and I often find myself sounding like an angry dictator at the slightest of infringements. I know this goes against the British stereotype of decorum and stiff upper lipness, but the real British are rude, foul-mouthed sons of whores. Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1 Your boss at work tells you to stop tweeting. American Response- “Sure” (apologetically) English Response - “Bollocks, you tosser” (dismissively)

Scenario 2 Texting granny cuts you up on I-196. American Response - “Silly Billy” (said quietly with a smile) English Response - “You bloody wanker, you shouldn’t be allowed on the bastard road, you arse.” (screamed)

Scenario 3 Wife/husband shouts at you for leaving a tea ring on the table. American Response - “Oops, sorry honey, I will wipe that up” English Response - “Go and find someone else’s pot to piss in”

This may be less to do with language, and more to do with the fact that British people are generally more angry with everything. Blame it on a combination of a loss of empire, a lack of national identity, poor dental hygiene, tea over-consump- tion, Hugh Grant, the weather, the French, parents, “X Factor” and the French.

So next time you hear a bloke with an accent lambasting some old dear in Forest Hills Foods for using bad shopping cart etiquette, spare a thought for the poor old angry Brits... and keep your kids out of earshot.



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