Finally, that longing has come to an end … as it happens each year, once that last college football game is played in January. Yes, I am talking about a new college football season. And last season ended in a spectacular fashion with, yet again, another grand and storied comeback for the University of Alabama – winning another college football championship. Those who know me well can tell you that I am nuts about college football, and why not, having been born and raised in Georgia, down South in SEC country.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where we have a storied SEC football tradition. There’s nothing like 104,000 folks singing “Rocky Top.” I earned my Master’s degree from Kansas State University. That is where my wife Angela graduated from and earned her bachelors and doctorate degrees, and where she was a professor. It’s also where I taught Army ROTC. We serve as K-State Alumni Foundation Trustees and were there to watch Coach Bill Snyder’s transformation of what was once a very hapless college football program.
This past weekend, friends were already texting me about the coming Labor Day weekend and all the stellar early matchups, to include my Tennessee Volunteers taking on the West Virginia Mountaineers. I watched a few games on ESPN this past Saturday evening, and it felt great to have the passion, pageantry, and grandeur of college football back. And so, I thought about it, with all this chatter of many Americans preferring socialism over free market capitalism, what are the lessons leftists could learn from college football?
First of all, how many of these left-leaning college professors are attending games and cheering for victory for their respective schools? Matter of fact, how many of the students who prefer socialism are there in the stands wanting to run up the score on their opponents to win? Currently, the preseason Top Ten is out there, and yes, Alabama sits at the top. Hmm, it doesn’t seem “unfair” that Alabama keeps winning championships? I mean what about these top ten teams, aren’t they part of the one-percenters?
Last year, my Tennessee Vols did not win a game in the SEC. Yes, that means we lost to Vanderbilt – two years in a row. Of course, the Vol Nation was suicidal, but we did not complain about a redistribution of wins, or that we should have had our “fair share” of wins. We fired our head football coach and athletic director, and we seek to rebuild what was once a dominant college football program. Perhaps if progressive socialists were in control they would have sought to be victims and demanded someone come in and create a fairer system for everyone. Maybe Tennessee could have asked for subsidized victories. You know, maybe they could have been provided whatever points the betting spread laid down for respective games. Trust me, getting your doors blown off 41-0 by Georgia in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville was not fun to watch.
Imagine for a moment if Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or any of the countless other Marxist, progressive, socialist leftists were head of the SEC or the NCAA. Doggone, what rules changes would they implement? Now, some of you may deem this as silliness, but ask yourselves, why do we cheer for victory with our respective teams, yet, do not believe any individual American can apply the same beliefs of hard work, practice, and self-improvement to be a victor in their own lives?
At the beginning of each college football season every team is 0-0, every team has the equality of opportunity to be a champion, to win. And please, each year there is always a series of upsets that excite us all. Remember when little Appalachian State upset the University of Michigan in the “Big House”? When I was a student at Tennessee, it was Wichita State – yes, back when the Shockers had a football team – that upset us on our homecoming. Or how about just last year when the little FCS school, Troy State University, went onto LSU’s home turf and defeated the Bengal Tigers. That is what life is all about – the belief that you can take the field and win, that you have that opportunity. However, that is not what progressive socialists believe. Theirs is a mentality based purely on emotion that would tell Troy State or Appalachian State that they are not capable of achieving victory, that the odds are not just against them but are insurmountable. The left prefers to make victims and implement a philosophy of equality of outcomes to determine who wins, and who does not.
Just last year, consider the University of Central Florida, UCF. When you think about college football in the State of Florida, you think of the University of Florida, the “U” (University of Miami), or Florida State University. Just a few years back, UCF, located in Orlando, was 0-12. Last year, UCF finished 14-0. They were American Athletic Conference champions, with a thrilling win over the University of Memphis. Then, they went onto play in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against SEC powerhouse Auburn – and they were victorious.
And who was the leader, the heart and soul, of the UCF football team? It was a young man named Shaquem Alphonso Griffin, who was a defensive end. What made Griffin so incredibly unique, and indicative of why we love college football? He only has one hand. Griffin’s left hand was amputated when he was only four years old – victor not victim! And then there was the blind college football player at the University of Southern California, Jake Olson, who did the long snap on the extra point in their victory over Western Michigan, 49-31 – victor, not victim!
These are the lessons that progressive socialists can learn from a new college football season, and why we cheer so loudly and sing our traditional fight songs. Folks stand for America’s traditional fight song, the National Anthem, at college football games. Down South fellas remove their hats, and Veterans salute. America loves winners, champions, and what perplexes me is why would this nation embrace a philosophy of governance, and ideology that promotes victims and shared misery and not a system that has enabled America to always be on top? Because we produce victors, not victims.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is author of the forthcoming book from Brown Books Publishing Group coming this fall, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.”