“Many of the 223 Hispanic students at Foley Elementary came to school Thursday crying and afraid. . . . Nineteen of them withdrew, and another 39 were absent.”
--Rena Havner Philips, Mobile Press-Register
One of the needling concerns I have for this country--slotted somewhere between third-world-style oligarchic rule and zombie apocalypse--is the future health of college football. Now, I’m not speaking of conference realignment or bowl committee corruption or agent-player scandals or concussionphobic health consciousness.
Rather, my worry is that as America’s demographic makeup changes from a combo of white majority and black majority-minority to a genuinely pluralistic population, the game will be unable to sustain its current appeal. I fear that if today’s fans are unable (or unwilling) to reach into new communities then the version of college football we see today--bloated, roaring, boisterous, ever-present--is the high point before an inevitable collapse, the tyrannosaurus rex of the sports landscape that has hunted down the last of its prey and is unprepared for the starvation diet of a coming ice-age.
Therefore, it is with no small measure of relief that I see Alabama’s Latino community participating in one of the University of Alabama’s longest traditions: denying people education based on their ethnicity!
¡Ay Dios mio! As a native of Alabama, I was just adjusting to the idea that most people who voted for George fucking Wallace are good and dead, so I have to hand it to you cracker assholes--you are nothing if not creative.
¡Jesus Christo! You guys are totally the crackheads of racism. Any hit will do and you’ll find the most desperately innovative ways to get your fix. (Also, let me stop the flood of emails in their tracks and apologize upfront to crackheads for the comparison.)
Seriously, just when I think I can let this shit go and daydream about which denomination a black president would look best on (Answer? The ten-thousand-dollar note. Why? First, ‘cause it’s straight ballin’ and, second, suck it, Salmon P. Chase!) you get your swerve on by picking on little brown babies.
All right, I gather that an appeal to basic human dignity isn’t going to carry the day, so let me get all Sam “Bam” Cunningham on you for a moment: Alabama plays Florida tomorrow and is roughly a five-point favorite. Personally, I believe they will win and, perhaps, cover. That being said, let us agree that Florida has a larger population than Alabama, a deeper recruiting base, a better developed prep system, a stronger economy, a more pleasant climate, et cetera et cetera.
That Alabama, as a state, can even produce a team capable of staying on the field with them, much less beating them fairly regularly, is a testament to our collective will to power, our mawkish obsession with eleven men wearing the same uniform and tossing around an oddly shaped inflatable lump of leather. Others may deride this as insanity, but, please, respect the commitment.
Furthermore, next year a school from Texas will become a regular conference opponent. In terms of football, Texas is essentially Florida with more hairspray. Extending farther west, the Lane Kiffin Comedy Cavalcade can’t last forever, so there will be a shift of power back to California in the not-so-distant future.
Florida, Texas, and California all have multiple high-profile college football programs as well as sizable Latino populations. And if you think Jimbo Fisher hasn’t figured out how to say “Go Noles” in Spanish after the month he’s had, then ay callate.
I realize that extending open arms to the Latino community because we need them to cross over to football from futbol isn’t the most noble of sentiments, but life is messy. Sometimes you have to make practical decisions to do what’s best, even if it’s not the ideal situation. People cross the southern border every day with that in mind, amigo.
Now, I hear what some of you might say already: “It’s not fair. Why should some people be rewarded for breaking the rules?” I’m sorry--I thought I was talking to college football fans. Aren’t you used to this by now? Plus, shouldn't you respect the dogged determinism of a people who somehow make contributions across the board in industry, governance, culture, and athletics in spite of a full-force gale of xenophobia? You may disagree, but, again, respect the commitment.
However, if you look over the scared, crying faces of the kids at Foley Elementary and think there’s something criminal going on there? Well, compadre, we finally found something we can agree on.
Marea del Rollo.