Today’s Topic: 12.4.2013
College has become something of a hassle for today’s student athlete, especially those who are seen as “superstars”. A stick on the rollerblading path of success, a boring trailer waiting for the movie to start. What ungodly comparisons could some of the brightest minds make for an athlete having to sit through lectures and recitations and exams? Who knows? Cardale Jones, Ohio State’s third-string Quarterback, may have said it best that he “we ain’t come here to play SCHOOL”. Cardale came to one of our nation’s Universities, known as “higher education” to some idiots, to play football. Naturally, I mean that’s why college’s are around, right? Today’s Topic takes us to a college in Eugene, where a top five pick spurned the NFL….and for what? To play school?
I’ve never considered myself a huge Marcus Mariota fan, I guess mainly because I’ve never been a huge fan of Oregon; in fact, I root against Oregon more often than I root for them. Why? I have no idea. I have no connection or disconnection to Oregon, but I always find myself hoping they go down in flames week-in-week-out….except when I pick them against the spread, of course. The Ducks have become a polarizing team thanks in large part to Nike owner Phil Knight. He has showered the Ducks with countless gifts including the nation’s most gaudy and awesome uniforms, facilities which no other school can match, and an overwhelming sense of entitlement. Lost in the Phil Knight scramble are the Oregon players. They have seen to become an amorphous blob of annual speed racers. Every year Oregon has the nation’s quickest running back and most versatile quarterback. Why pay any attention? These guys are all system products, products which begin with the tantalizing props Phil Knight provides via his astounding wealth and generosity to the University’s athletic programs. So why would anyone pay any attention to Marcus Mariota? He’s just another Oregon quarterback who can throw and run, but will find his comeuppance in the NFL because he’s just another stat machine bred by the Oregon program, right? Well, suddenly the entire nation is agape at a decision made by Mariota and he’s captivated the entire country with a decision many thought ridiculous. To quote an ESPN commercial, “He’s coming back.”
What are Mariota’s reasons for coming back? I thought he would have told the media what it wanted to hear, “I want to win a championship”, “I just couldn’t leave knowing we have left so much unfinished this season”, etc. He’ll talk football, because he’s a football player. He ain’t at Oregon to play SCHOOL, and the media doesn’t pay attention to him because he’s playing SCHOOL. Mariota is only making headline news because he’s a football player who is staying in school. Manziel, Hundley, Bridgewater…all names which appear on the 2014 draft board rather than a 2014 attendance sheet. I’m not condemning these players. If I were in their place, the riches of the NFL would be difficult to pass up, but he (Mariota) is shunning these riches. He’s Matt Barkley-ing the NFL; although, I think we can all hope he meets a better end to his decision than Barkley has. Believe it or not, my assumptions about Mariota’s decision were as wrong as the constant dick sightings in the movie Wanderlust starring my boy Paul Rudd.
In some back recess of my mind, I’m hesitant to laud Mariota; after all, who knows how much SCHOOL factors into the decision. Quoth Marcus, “It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates […] I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.” Tears are coagulating in my eyes and suddenly I have a huge man crush on Mariota. He could be being facetious, pandering to the world of unread blogs such as this because it makes him look like a great guy. No one is beyond facetiousness; however, for the sake of my own sanity and the sake of what I have already written, I’d like to personally declare myself a huge Marcus Mariota fan and praise the young man for making a decision which few would dare…actually staying in college to play some SCHOOL.