Monday, September 05, 2011

Roar Lions Roar FAQ (2011 edition)

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With classes resuming tomorrow for the undergrads, it's time to introduce and re-introduce this blog to our incoming students, returning students, and everyone else interested in following the Lions this year and beyond!

1) "Hey, are you an idiot? Don't you know the title of the Columbia fight song is "Roar LION Roar?"

Yes, yes I am aware of that. I'm doing something called, "a play on words." I like to pass myself off as a witty writer. I also like to pass myself off as Kaiser Wilhelm I, but a lot more people seem to go for the writer thing.

2) Why are you such a crazy Columbia fan?

First of all, let's define "crazy fan." Do I go to just about all the games? Do I get happy and depressed based on the team's performance, and then write about it online?... I answer "yes" to all of the above. Do I wear a rainbow wig, paint my bare chest light blue, and beat up opposing team mascots... no, (well there was that incident with the Dartmouth kid who dresses up like a keg back in '79, but the charges were dropped).

Actually I never really realized it until after the fact, but I was pretty much destined to be a Columbia football fan even before I set foot on campus as a freshman in 1988. My grandfather was a close friend and pinochle buddy of Columbia and Chicago Bears great Sid Luckman. Wien Stadium is named after a distant relative of my grandmother's, Lawrence A. Wien. And I'm pretty sure, my mom, who isn't much a sports fan, was dragged to the Ivy League championship-clinching win over Penn at Baker Field in November, 1961 by her then-boyfriend when she was a first-year at Barnard College.

3) You Columbia fans make me sick. Why do you talk so much even though you haven't won a title in 49 years? You should just be quiet and leave us alone.

Yes, die-hard loyal CU fans tend to dominate Ivy Internet chat boards and the like. But we're usually not boasting; we're just talking about our team and the sport we obviously love. Also, thanks to Logic and Rhetoric classes, (you'll find out about these), we're pretty good at writing.

Fans of super-successful Ivy football teams like Harvard and Penn just aren't battle-tested enough to take things to obsessive levels. We are.

I follow just about all the pro sports and "big-time" college football and basketball too, but those sports have lost a lot in my eyes over the years. The average pro team has more turnover than a second-term White House administration, and many of the BCS football teams are filled with young men who work hard, but can't really be called "college students." Every Ivy football player is a true student-athlete. It's damn nice as a father to take my kids to a game where they can see players who have their priorities straight.

I am sick of spors anchors on ESPN getting all high and mighty about college athletes and leagues that are corrupt and then they don't spend even a minute focusing on the players and leagues who do it right. It's hyprocritical and cynical and I won't have it.

Anyone who says that the Ivy League "isn't real college football," should be reminded that BCS college football, for the most part, isn't really college.

4) Okay we get it, you love the team. But why spend so much time writing about it on the Internet, and what are trying to accomplish here?

Writing is what I do anyway. It's the way I make my living and I actually enjoy it. The Internet gives you a built-in audience, however small sometimes, so if you don't hate your writing, why wouldn't you post it on the 'net?

And the point of all this is to create a virtual meeting place for CU fans, players, etc. I wanted to prove that there is a large and vibrant Columbia fan base, it just needed a sounding board. As President Reagan once told his speechwriters in 1981: "The choir needs music." (Most of your professors will probably try to tell you President Reagan was "evil." Because, you know, the Soviet empire he helped slay was something they romanticized. Just smile and pretend to agree and you'll still get a good grade).

Everyone is welcome of course, but so far not ONE person has left a nasty personal attack-type comment on this blog or via email against me. Not ONE. By Internet standards, I think that's a record.

5) Okay, so what do I get to see here?

On this blog you will get a definitely pro-Columbia slant. We are fans after all.

But this is not mindless cheerleading. There will be fair criticism here without making it personal against the players. Coaches will be scrutinized, however.

You'll get weekly predictions, (not including Columbia's games), including the betting lines.

You'll get in-depth pre and postgame analysis.

And if you look at the bottom of this post, you'll see the latest in the 100 day countdown feature I've been doing all summer chronologically recounting the 100 key moments of the past season.

If you're hoping to really get a handle on this team and where it's coming from, I suggest using the archives of this blog and reading the 100 moments in order.

Go ahead, I'll wait...

6) When do you sleep?

I'm a dad, so I still don't exactly bank on 8 hours of sleep each night. But since I don't kill myself with as much meticulous editing as I should for this site, it doesn't take me too long to get these posts online. Seriously don't worry about me, this is not as time-intensive as it looks.

7) How will the Lions do this season?

I'll have my complete predictions for the Lions and the rest of the Ivies on this blog next week.

But here's a short preview:

Columbia has the best overall quarterback in the Ivy League in junior Sean Brackett, it also has a very serious NFL prospect in senior offensive lineman Jeff Adams.

The defense will feature a lot of new faces, (just like you!), because a good deal of seniors graduated. Its biggest challenge will be stopping the run, which I consider to be a key to the season.

The Lions have a very difficult schedule this season, but accept NO excuses. This is still a very talented team and this is the 6th season for Head Coach Norries Wilson.

If anyone tries the words "still rebuilding" on you, politely shout him down!

8) All my orientation leaders and upperclassmen make snide comments about athletics. What's with that?

If I learned one thing after spending four years with a bunch of kids at Columbia who were obviously smarter and more motivated than I, it was humility. I put on my cap and gown STILL not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and that made me feel pretty pathetic next to my friends who did know and were also ready to work very hard for it.

I don't idolize athletes, even the student-athletes at Columbia who work much harder than the guys at big football factories.

But I do really admire the fact that a lot of these guys on the football team represent TRUE diversity and the ability to overcome adversity. They are kids coming from parts of the country where most people don't even know about Columbia. Many of them even have... GASP!!!... a different point of view about politics, religion and life in general than most Ivy students, (I kinda thought diversity was supposed to be about more than race, but that fact is lost on a lot of people, and presidents).

Okay, I know I'm ranting, but this is just one token shot against against the avalanche of anti-athletics sentiment you're likely to hear from your peers in the coming days. Do me a favor and find out for yourself.

9) Okay, but it's not like any of these guys are going to the NFL or anything.

Columbia has some former football players on active NFL rosters right now. Former All-Pro, Marcellus Wiley '97, recently retired, but now he's doing NFL coverage on ESPN. Think he gets that job without an Ivy degree? As for the here and now, Jeff Adams will almost surely be drafted.

10) What about the fact that the stadium is so far from campus? I heard about the free shuttle bus, but I might have to take the subway... UPTOWN! My mommy told me that was dangerous.

Okay first off, you're still calling her "mommy?!?" We'll get back to that later, but there's a good chance your "mommy" either a) hasn't ridden the subway in 25 years, or b) is a vicious racist. Either way, let me give you a little glimpse of your future. Within a year or two of graduation, you're either going to be working at a job that'll keep you cooped up inside for 10-12 hours or day, going to a job that requires you to sit in traffic for two hours each way, or both. So think a bit before you whine about a 15-minute subway ride or a 25-minute free bus trip. When I was an undergrad, I wanted to join the crew team but I balked because of those 6AM practices. Then I graduated and ended up working a graveyard shift in TV that required me to come into work at 2AM every day for seven years. What a dope I was in college!

But I'm here to help. Stay tuned for my guide to Wien Stadium coming up later this month.

For now, just remember that tickets for students are FREE! And for you adult students over the age of 21... there is FREE BEER for God sakes! Get up there!

11) I'm too busy texting my friends to go to football games.

Stop texting and start living.

Top 100 Moments of 2010

#12: Tricked Out

Late in the third quarter with Columbia still trailing Cornell 10-3, the Big Red pulled out a brilliant trick play that seemingly put the nail in the Lions coffin.

On a 1st and 10 from the Columbia 27, Cornell QB Jeff Matthews handed the ball off to RB Ryan Houska who promptly heaved the ball to WR JC Tretter who could not be more open in the middle of the field.

Tretter streaked into the end zone and the Bg Red has what looked like an insurmountable 17-3 after the PAT.

But for Columbia, the game was just beginning...


At Mon Sep 05, 10:44:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Jake, could you please soon reprint your driving directions to Fordham via (as I recall) the Mosholu Parkway? Thanks.

And folks, get there early for this one, I believe it's Fordham's homecoming and that is always a zoo in its smallish parking facilities. It's just too bad that this is a day game, because going to Fordham hours earlier, nabbing a good parking spot and having dinner in one of nearby Arthur and Belmont Avenue's fine Italian restaurants is a game-time boon that simply isn't possible at other stadiums where Columbia plays.

At Tue Sep 06, 08:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch S '68 said...

This is so well expressed and hits just the right note, as does everything Jake posts here. I know it's a huge amount of work to frequently update a blog like this one, yet it gets done just about every day. Thanks so much!

At Tue Sep 06, 09:46:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Speaking of fine dinning, a True Blue Columbia Football season ticket entitles you to free food and beverages in the Athletic Directors Hospitality Tent for EVERY GAME. The value of the concession alone practically covers the cost of the ticket. Everyone who reads this blog should consider the gastronomic advantages of a TRUE BLUE subscription !! (and you'll be true to your school).

At Tue Sep 06, 09:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think my comment here relate to an earlier thread, but it involves the comments posted here. I for one appreciate, Jake, your consistent positive bent towards the program. The players on our team deserve our support.

That being said, let's hope that this is the year we make forward steps, whether that is a winning record or not remains to be seen.

I would take the usual Ivy season forecasters and prognosticators with a grain of salt... we have a good team, let's hope we can make it happen.

I think obviously our biggest loss in terms of graduation is Andrew Kennedy and Mr. Gross. However, in terms of receivers - Mike Stephens will help us. Let's not have him on kick and punt returns please!

Also, in terms of the Fordham rivalry - I can't see dropping them - so far our matchups with them have been quite competitive. Despite their scholarship players, so far I think it makes for interesting crosstown bragging rights. As for the trip up to Fordham, the surrounding area is not as bad as people make it out to be - if you go wandering around the Bronx - OK, you might find some trouble - but if you stay on Fordham Road - you are right as rain. This denigrating the area of Fordham - although it is something even some Ram alums do - smacks of the kind of issues some rivals have with Morningside Hts - and we know our Columbia area is A-OK.

Lion Fan

At Wed Sep 07, 07:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few points I'd like to make about the Fordham rivalry:

1. For those fans who call for an end to the Fordham-Columbia game, why don't you tell us who CU should schedule instead? Offer solutions instead of negativity. If the Fordham series ends because they are a scholarship prgram, what non-scholarship school fills that slot on CU's schedule? And, how far are you willing to have the Lions travel for an out-of-conference game compared to the 20 minutes it takes to get to Jack Coffey Field in the Bronx?

2. Somebody mentioned in an earlier post that we should harken back to the time when CU kept Rutgers on the schedule while the Knights were looking to go "big time." Those last few games against Rutgers were brutal, indeed. However, the facts are that Rutgers was looking to upgrade their program within the confines of the 1-A level (or, now known as FBS level). There is a huge variance between scholarships granted by FBS and FCS programs. Fordham, like CU,is an FCS-level program. I am not a Fordham fan or alum, but I think it is a serious stretch to say the Rams are going "big time" anytime soon. Check out what it takes to get to that level in terms of average attendance per game, etc. It's safe to assume that Fordham will remain an FCS-level school for many years to come. Are you saying that CU football should never play any school that offers scholarships? If so, that certainly diminishes the pool of potential opponents down the road.


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