I want to show you what the face of resigned acceptance looks like.
These are the faces of men who have been Rice football fans for decades. (Or so I assume because who else would go to a Rice game other than a Rice alum?)
Notice that they do not look happy.
They are unhappy because they are watching Northwestern trounce Rice. And because they paid $35 for the privilege.
Maybe 20 years ago, when the joke was I94, Northwestern 0, Rice could have had a shot at beating Northwestern, but on Saturday, a week after Northwestern beat Nebraska, which I have to assume is a big deal as even I, who am not a huge sports fan, know that "Nebraska" + "football" = Big Deal, Rice didn't have a chance.
Still, SH and I and my college friend Warren who has just moved back to Minneapolis after over a decade working in France*, paid $35 apiece - APIECE - for tickets to the game and drove to Chicago.
THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS. For a RICE GAME. Rice tickets used to sell for less than face value. Who would pay to see a team with such a rich losing tradition?
But we thought it would be fun to watch a game and perhaps see other Rice alum living in the frozen north, even though we had all experienced winter without snow, shoveling, and being cold and should know better.
It was sort of fun. The weather was perfect: sunny and cool. The fans were excited. The Northwestern fans, that is. The game was good for Rice in four second spots, but the good part was overshadowed by the bleak shadows of gross incompetence and the tragedy of playing a team where the other players weighed 40 pounds each more than the Rice players.
I surrendered to the inevitable: Rice was going to lose. It is our tradition.
Going to a school with a bad - or outclassed - football team prepares one for real life. Sometimes, no matter how hard you practice or how much talent you have, you are still going to lose. For almost all of us, there will be someone better or luckier out there. It's good to learn that lesson as a young person so you don't waste your life whining about fairness. When you learn that lesson young, you know that you still have to soldier on and that life goes on.
Now for a slight change in topic, as this post is not meant to be a sermon about Life and Loss.
What's the deal with the constant barrage of noise at a Northwestern football game? I have not gone to many college games in the past few years - just the Rice homecoming games - but have they all become like Northwestern? I know the Rice games were not like this. During every single bit of game downtime, either the band was playing or there was recorded music playing over the PA. I wouldn't mind the band, but they, too, were piped through the PA. Bands are loud enough that it is not necessary to amplify them.
If the band isn't playing, isn't a little bit of silence on a beautiful fall day OK? Why do they have to blare rap music over the PA?
When they weren't playing music, they were doing commercials: Every single thing in the game was sponsored, including the net behind the goalposts. Every little event was sponsored. I think there might have been more live commercials during the game than there would be during a televised game. Anyone have any comment on this? I found it to be highly annoying, especially as I had already paid THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS** for my ticket. For that much money, for an amateur sport, shouldn't I be able to enjoy just a game?
* He is looking for a job, so if anyone needs someone with these qualifications, let me know.
1. BSEE from Rice
2. MBA UCLA
3. 10+ years with HP in the US, Germany and France
4. Fluent in Spanish, German, and French. And English, of course.
** I could have bought a shoe with that. I could have bought the second shoe with SH's ticket money.