There Are Lots of Sounds That Can Send A Chill Up Our Spines…The Laughter of Our Children, Rivers in the Great American West, the Crowd at A Baseball Park, the Buzz Before A College Football Game…But the Sounds of Piano Music From A Watering Hole In A Great American City Is Right Up There As Well – Why Do Americans Love Football? – Francis Ford Coppola, Bing West, General Patton and the American “Warrior Spirit” All Help To Answer That Question – “All Glory Is Fleeting” – Let’s Play Football
There are lots of sounds and noise that can send a chill up our spines or make us smile like the sweet sound of our children laughing, the roar of a river in the Rocky Mountains of the Great American West in the springtime, the crowd applauding a home baseball team taking the field in the first inning and that unmistakable and irreplaceable buzz before the start of a college football game, but another very powerful sound to many of us here at Coaches Hot Seat is that sound that we love to hear when we are visiting America’s great cities which is a piano player hitting the keys in a bar or restaurant with glass, ice and libations in the background as one leaves the sounds of the city streets.
We love the Great American West in the Rocky and Cascade Mountains but most of us spent the majority of our adult lives working in our country’s great American cities of New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver and San Francisco and the sounds of the City never fails to thrill us as described by Neil Diamond in his hit Beautiful Noise:
Beyond the energy of our great American cities many of us here Coaches Hot Seat have in our younger days a lot and less often today haunted the saloons, bars and places where Americans get together to drink, laugh and get away from the stresses of life and when entering one of those drinking establishments that sweet sound of someone playing the piano is one of those magical sounds that is one of the elixirs of our lives.
Before the San Francisco Giants baseball game last night against the Cubs at AT&T Park (the Giants bats are still almost silent and if they don’t wake-up soon the 2011 season will be lost) several of us here at CHS got together in one of San Francisco’s famous watering holes to talk the Giants, college football and the Wacko Liberal Nuts that are destroying California while we drank our favorite beverages and listened to a great music man on the piano who was more than happy to take requests as long as we kept filling his tip jar!
Why do Americans love football?
With the college football season upon us there have been a lot of people asking about why football has such a strong hold upon the American People the country’s psyche and a week ago Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal wrote a great article on the why so many of us love college football:
“Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, has two theories. For one, he thinks the South’s pursuit of football is closely tied to its cultural values.
“Working really hard for your group, and then celebrating that sort of hot, sweaty sacrifice for the community that you’re in — and that’s not just the team, not just the school, it’s the larger community,” he said.
The other is what he calls a “dramatic increase” in the importance of higher education, particularly in the South. That fuels an institution in which most people learn for the first time what it means to be a sports fan.
“Colleges are so important to people’s identities,” Ownby said.
Kelly Jolley, an Auburn University philosophy professor and avid football fan, agrees. He attributes our love for college football to our love for traditions. Its growth in recent years coincides with the homogenization of culture as a whole.
Think about it: You can eat at the same restaurant chain in Tuscaloosa as you can in New York City. The shopping centers look the same. Regional identities aren’t as distinct as they once were — except with our football, of course.
“Many of the traditions have eroded, and that’s made the football tradition become more and more important,” he said.
But to paint football as a distinctly Southern pursuit isn’t fair to name-brand programs like Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, where six-figure crowds will file in this fall. While we may have the monopoly on eye-opening football fanaticism in the South, football in the university setting is a national pastime.
It’s a curious dichotomy. (And distinctly American, too.) Many top-tier academic institutions like Harvard, Yale and Penn — or Rhodes College, locally — play football, but only at a nonscholarship level that’s not a big-business enterprise.”
All of the above is TRUE, but there is something else going on that connects Americans deeply to the game of football and although it makes many “academic” types uncomfortable to think about one of the reasons that the American Republic became the world’s lone superpower is because “Americans” are some of the greatest warriors in world history.
Former Marine and Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West has written extensively about the “warrior” culture among members of the US military that still exists within a majority of the American People (a slim majority in our opinion with more Candy Asses being raised all the time!) and Mr. West has pointed out on many occasions that if America ever loses that “fight” and “warrior spirit” that is within many of us our country will be in a world of hurt.
One of our commanding officers when we were in the US Navy that had played football at the US Naval Academy once told a few of us over drinks that football was “the closest thing to war that is not war” in the world today and beyond people supporting their school it is our opinion that Americans also understand deep in their souls that football is a great game because if affirms many of the principles that made our country great.
The Great Francis Ford Coppola before he was a famous director and producer of movies (The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, Godfather III) won the Academy Award for writing the script for the movie Patton and in the opening scene to Patton Coppola captured the essential spirit of General Patton (as played by the Great George C. Scott) and the “warrior” spirit that has been and still is inside many Americans:
At the end of Coppola’s great script for the movie Patton he described the return of Roman conquering soldiers to Rome that the well-read General Patton would have known cold and as one reads the following last lines to the movie Patton imagine for a moment how similar that the college football stadiums of our country are to Rome of long ago:
“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph, a tumultuous parade.
In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments.
The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him.
Sometimes, his children, robed in white stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses.
A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning that all glory is fleeting.”
Yes, “All Glory is Fleeting”….
So let’s play some football and create some new glory….if only for a time…because creating glory is what Americans must do on a continuous basis to reaffirm the American spirit and the life of our nation and as always the kick-off to the college football season cannot get here soon enough.
Let’s play some football.
Some more clips from the movie Patton: