But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? … Why does Rice play Texas?
President John F. Kennedy
(September 12, 1962, on sending an American to the moon)
Dream big. Presidents used to talk like that, used to shoot for the moon, literally. Kennedy knew that you don’t sell ambition despite its obstacles but because of them. You offer the promise and the perils, not the mechanics. The benefit of this strategy disarms your critics by using their own artillery against them. Danger? Difficulty? Damn, right.
The current President makes speeches, too. He amuses himself, smirks while announcing the nation’s bold new initiative in “alternative questioning” techniques. The metro-riders across the pond label him a cowboy. First, that’s not an insult. Secondly, he preens a little too much to be a cowboy. I’ve seen Shane: Don’t pick up the gun. Real cowboys eventually help the little guy. When he’s on TV, my President says he worries about me, wants to keep me safe. Somehow though, I feel he thinks differently about me when I’m not watching.
In today’s football climate, the real question is not why Rice plays Texas but why does (the) Ohio State? If (t)OSU had played Rice this time last year instead of Texas, they probably would have played for the National Championship instead of the Longhorns. Big-time inter-conference games like this and Penn State-Notre Dame tomorrow represent one of the few positive side effects from our benevolent multi-headed multi-networked Worldwide Leader's influence on college football. Lee Corso’s employment is a small price to pay for such pleasure.
So if Jack were alive today, he might digress from the PT-109 story he’d be telling Lindsay Lohan long enough to ask a different question: Why did Vandy play Michigan, and why do they play Alabama?
The answer for the first part is that their president offered them up on the altar of guaranteed appearance fees. However, after Kenneth Darby was held to less than 30 yards against Hawaii, Vanderbilt may have a surprising answer to the second. As the Crimson Tide takes the field tomorrow, they would do well to remember they’re not the only ones dreaming big.