I was off Monday and away from the UGA blogosphere during the afternoon when the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it furor over Aaron Murray’s ankle set the Bulldog Nation atwitter — or, I should say, aTwitter.
So the ankle that “team sources” told a student journalist was broken in two places turned out to be merely sprained in a pick-up soccer game and no real threat to Murray’s status as Georgia’s starting quarterback. Stand down, Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay.
What was most interesting to me coming in on this flap after it was over was seeing some fans harumphing about how Murray was irresponsible and shouldn’t have been playing soccer or any other nonfootball sport where he risked injury, to begin with.
Listen, if you’re going to try and make bubbleboys out of UGA’s “franchise” athletes, you might as well also ban them from riding those scooters that are the preferred mode of transportation around campus for today’s Bulldogs. Riding in Athens traffic is a lot more dangerous than playing soccer.
Besides, that sort of thinking ignores the fact that these kids are, for the most part, athletes, not just football players. Many of them grew up playing more than one sport. Mark Richt certainly recognizes this, as we’ve seen with the diving excursions and having the team play ultimate frisbee after practice for fun and fellowship. Guess what, many of them shoot hoops when they get a chance, too. They’re college kids, let them have some semblance of a normal life!
The other thing that struck me was the way the Murray incident brought to the surface that streak of latent soccerphobia that seems to permeate a certain strata of Southern sports fans and sportswriters. So we’re told that Murray getting hurt is one more knock on a game that ought to be reserved for kids or “furriners.”
I’ve never really understood the irrational fear and loathing that soccer engenders in some folks around here, unless it’s just because in the grand scheme of the “beautiful game” Americans aren’t worldbeaters. Sort of like the way some Georgia fans have always tended to put down “basketball schools.”
Just remember this about soccer, though. UGA folk hero Kevin Butler was all-state in that other football for Redan High and without his soccer skills, he no doubt never would have made that 60-yarder against Clemson, gotten a Super Bowl ring and been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Find me on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg