I delivered these closing remarks at the end of my CBS College Network Show on Tuesday night and wanted to share them with you on Thanksgiving. I added in the note about the great Furman Bisher because I was happy to see his annual “I’m Thankful” column on the editoral pages of this morning’s AJC.
We’ll be back tomorrow with our Fearless Friday Forecast. I am very thankful for all of you and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families.
Here we go:
Folks I’ve dedicated all of my professional life—and a big chunk of my personal life—to the sport of college football. I’ve loved it since I went to my first game at the University of Georgia when I was 13 years old. I have never, ever wanted to do anything else for a living other than talk about and write about college football.
But when you cover a story like Cam Newton, you wonder if that love has been misplaced. You wonder if the money has gotten so big and the stakes for winning and losing so high, that coaches, players, parents, fans, and, yes, media have lost sight of what the game is supposed to be.
It’s supposed to be fun, not life and death, and certainly not about shopping players around to the highest bidder. It’s not supposed to be about the back biting that goes on between fans and institutions who are supposed to be adults and are supposed know better.
But every time I cover one of these stories, I try to step back and remember what I’m thankful for in my little world of college football:
**–I’m thankful for Furman Bisher and his “I’m Thankful” column each year. The man can still write circles around all of us.
**–I’m thankful for tailgating. You can’t beat a beautiful Fall afternoon with family and friends on campus. And it’s a lot less stressful than Thanksgiving dinner.
**–I’m thankful for the mascots. From UGA, to Bevo, to Ralphie, to Smokey….to Auburn’s “War Eagle.”
**–I’m thankful when the Ohio State band performs the “Script Ohio.” The first time I saw it in person the hair stood up on my arms. It still does.
**–I’m thankful that I met and got to know Michigan’s Bo Schembechler. He taught me how to sing “The Victors.” Man, I miss that guy.
**–I’m thankful for LSU’s Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night. When LSU is good, like they are now, that place just rocks.
**–I’m thankful for Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Vince Dooley and all the other coaching icons I have had the privilege to know.
**–And finally I am just thankful for the game. While the people who surround it can be flawed, the game itself endures. The game is bigger than us. It is stronger than us.
That is why college football is the greatest game in the world.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.
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